Comedy Minus One (2016)
Record labels out there, never underestimate the power of your email list. I think I ended up on the Comedy Minus One email list from buying an Obits 7" a few years back. But as the old saying goes, I came for the Obits but stayed for the Karl Hendricks Trio. Anyway, Comedy Minus One cranks out their update emails every so often and that is where I first heard of The Rutabega. I guess these guys have been kicking around for an awfully long time, but I had never heard of them prior to now. The description sounded intriguing and I checked out a song online and I was in.
Unreliable Narrator is a diverse record. There are some songs that have the sort of concise and hooky guitar pop song structure that I love. Opener "Shiny Destination" is just a blast of bouncy guitars and sing along rhyming. It's my favorite song on the album, but the good times certainly don't stop there. At times The Rutabega strike me as being sonically similar to The Posies, with the higher pitched vocals and the way the guitar weaves in and out between them. But there are other times where the music gets more complex and demanding like the nine minute plus "Lip." In this song you can hear the channeling of the Doug Martsch guitar gods as the songs sprawls out in front of you, quiet in places but building more intense moments at the close.
This album has a very late 90's feel to me. It was a time when some of the poppier bands from the mid 90's began to tinker around with longer songs and more contemplative moments. The Rutabega has definitely perfected those ambitions. I'm not sure if their past records are as good as Unreliable Narrator, but I aim to find out.
The Rutabega - Unreliable Narrator: