Review – “Happy Home (what I thought of while I was drowning” – The Ruby Plumes

reviewed by Jack Derricourtruby

I didn’t expect a Lethbridge band to remind me of the MC5. Then I started to think a little more. Is there anywhere in Canada that better fulfils the desolate, industrialized husk of Detroit, the particular pool of human pond scum that formed the 5? Lethbridge plays the part quite well: gigantic streets for the girth of monster pick up trucks; a mall threatening to become a church with the amount of seniors power-walking inside; abandoned infrastructure from better times. So, the Ruby Plumes have a lot in common with the men who brought you “Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa.

The Plumes have released a new, three song EP into the air of March’s ending. Happy Home (what I thought of while I was drowning) is a short, sweet assembly of punk parts that entralls the ear. Brazenly recorded at the illustrious Brandenhamilton’s Basement Studios, the EP suffers no foolish delay or reverb, using only authentically crisp, basement atmosphere to get the job done.

Opener “Doubt” is the heavy liquid of the album, providing not only an incredible bass part to start off the racket, but also a compelling lyric. The song channels all of the mantras of 60s proto-punk, with no tongue in cheek distractions: these fellas just want to knock you out with their rock and roll stylings. Nice.

The title track is the most tex mex — maybe “text mex” makes more sense these days — pertaining to the prairie life burgeoning on Lethbridge’s dusty roads. The rolling, swinging drum beat and guitar part guide listeners toward an ethereal chorus, filled with overtones and floating vocal layers.

“The Man I Once Knew,” threatens to take the effect-laden guitar to Tom Morello land; but thankfully, things turn Thin Lizzy quite quickly — so what if that’s the right direction? It sounds damn good. Jackson Tiefenbach’s guitar work all over the EP is fantastic, but here is where it shines. The closing line’s not bad either: “forget your coniptions about my existence.”

I can’t forget my coniptions of pleasant listening attached to this EP. The tight production of three little tracks is compelling and original. While I’m left wanting more, I feel the band has run the gamut with aplomb. They give us a good taste of what they have on tap, and it’s saucy. The MC5 would be proud.

Top Track: “Doubt”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Very Good)

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