Red Red Ruby – ‘We Dream Alone in the Womb’ [Review]

1115154307-1I imagine there is some old timey motto among crooks that goes ‘if you’re gonna steal, steal gold.’  This no doubt impressed the troubadours like Matthew Riley (Red Red Ruby), who begins his tape sounding Alan Bishop – wry, agnostic, but seeing it through as Will Oldham, Ben Chasny, and the Jewelled Antler catalog.  In many ways, it is a very traditional folk sound, filtered through lo-fi warble and a certain hard edge of modern embellishment – accentuating the moan of a vowel, the buzz of an organ, the middle-band muck of an electrified guitar.  In this sense, ‘We Dream Alone in the Womb’ feels like a lost Unread release, when Unread was still grounded in the Pennsylvania Riley is coming from.  The tape’s eight tracks all run long, amounting to a LP worth of material and a full-length listen, matted beneath the warm bleed of the cassette.  The effect is what makes the tape a unique listen, and somewhat dizzying, as the voice, that most human of folk conventions, the point of entry, is obscured by the positive effects and negative production.  All told, this pushes an entire song into the distance, more resembling the rock depressions of J. Mascis.  Making this a strong suit, songs like “Cold Silver Dollar” and the title track succeed by a very lack of voice, allowing bending chords and feedback to do the talking.  Rethinking the album by this shoe-gazer codec, the songs are sturdy, familiar, yet disruptive swatches of color and grain, engrossing, and stolen from nowhere.  Painted cassettes come in screened cases and screened J-cards, edition of 48.

MT5 cassette

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