Album Reviews

The Russian Futurists – Me Myself and Rye: An Introduction To

(Memphis Industries) UK release date: 7 August 2006

There is only really one full time Russian Futurist, and that’sMatthew Adam Hart, a singer/songwriter/multi instrumentalist whoresides in Eastern Ontario. Me, Myself and Rye appears to be a five-yearretrospective, including cuts from his first two albums that drew him highprofile admirers in Peter Buck and Magnetic Fields.

On this evidence Hart must be an amiable, easy-going person, as his takeon pop music is uniformly positive, but he clearly feels the need to letoff steam now and again, as a few of the more bombastic tracks here show.Melody is his strong point, emphasised by the refusal of at least five ofthose songs to leave the brain.

Hurtin’ 4 Certain, the most immediate of these, is a kind of ’round’,the melody travelling in beguiling circles. Let’s Get Ready To Crumble (notquite the response to Ant and Dec you might imagine!) perfectlyencapsulates the fine-tuned blend of uplifting vocals tinged withmelancholy that Hart offers, rather like listening to Paddy McAloonin a roomy nightclub.

While Hart’s charming, winsome melodies often win the day, hisinstrumentation is pretty ambitious too, making use of the big, reverberanttextures to include a nice, oboe like sound in the detail of Telegram FromThe Future. This track has a melting harmonic progression, anear-widescreen moment that’s shared by It’s Not Really Cold.

Sometimes the texture can get too busy, with too many counter melodiesincluded, but when Hart uses it to his advantage, as in the opening track,pizzicato strings shadow the singer while the booming bass drum provides asolid point of reference. Try the brassy wall of sound that opens PaulSimon – more Phil Spector to these ears as the shrill horns sound.Several Futurists for the price of one here!

Another minor problem that rears its head after a few listens is Hart’stendency to repeat himself rather than develop his ideas, part of thereason they burn themselves into your consciousness in the first place, butone that leaves tracks like Precious Metals less satisfying than they mighthave been. Even this, however, benefits from Hart’s clear and unfussyvocals, deeply felt and upward looking.

An enjoyable listen, then, to music that has welcome quirks, memorablehooks and lyrics, which, when used to their full potential, can be subtlymoving. As an introduction to the one-man band, it works nicely.

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The Russian Futurists – Me Myself and Rye: An Introduction To