RIBS - Russian Blood

Though it may not always match the dizzy highs of ‘British Brains’, ‘Russian Blood’ is nevertheless a worthy successor.

Rating: 8

Upon the release of their first EP ‘British Brains’, frontman Keith Freund decided to post it on Reddit. 10,000 plays later and a cult fanbase in the bag, the stunned young band from Boston had to decide what came next. Nearly eighteen months later, here is the answer – ‘Russian Blood’. Part of ostensibly a trio of EPs (the final link presumably being ‘American Brawn’, taking its name like the others from a WWII quote from Stalin), it builds on the expansive millennial space rock of its predecessor while also mixing up the textures and tempos the band have built their name on.

Opener ‘Mercury’ begins with subtle atmospherics and gentle twitches of sound, panned widescreen on an expansive canvas, before the band cut loose and pummel away the remaining track length with raw screams, wall-of-sound production and razor melodies soaring amongst the layers of noise. An immediate segue into ‘Kiss’ sees a nod to Smashing Pumpkins in glam rock mode – think ‘Ava Adore’ – with some of the parental-advisory swagger of early Nine Inch Nails; pouring over into ‘Gateway’ however, this approach becomes a little tired and in particular the lyrics seem to sag a little. Luckily there’s a quick save in the form of the industrial-grunge nerve shredder that is ‘Alarms’, RIBS every inch playing the band that their fans know and love, before ‘This Is Real’ (a reprise of ‘Kiss’) fades into closer ‘Destructo’. Once again taking a space-rock tack, it somehow manages to fuse the dynamics of early Weezer with an almost motorik-feel close.

Though it may not always match the dizzy highs of ‘British Brains’, ‘Russian Blood’ is nevertheless a worthy successor. In any case, surely it will add some new fans to those already looking forward to what comes next from this truly brilliant band.