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Ruth - The Covers EP Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 7.5
Musicianship 7.5
Lyrics N/A
Production 8.25
Creativity 8.75
Lasting Value 6.25
Reviewer Tilt 7.5
Final Verdict: 76%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 9.25
Production 7.75
Creativity 8.75
Lasting Value 8.5
Reviewer Tilt 8.25
Average: 85%
Inside AP.net

Ruth - The Covers EP

Reviewed by: Gregory Robson (08/21/09)
Ruth - Covers EP
Record Label: Tooth and Nail
Release Date: Aug. 25, 2009


Battle Ground, WA's favorite sons have returned to release their first album since 2008's Anorak, their third in line since Tooth and Nail debut Secondhand Dreaming. The Covers EP is the band's creative spin on a wide-ranging selection of five multi-generational pop singles. The disc also marks the band's new lineup, featuring Jesse Counts on bass, and Daniel Passera on drums, the band's fifth drummer and third bassist, respectively.

In under 20 minutes, the band puts their creative spin on Coldplay's "Fix You," Tracy Chapman's "Give me One Reason," Buddy Holly's "Everyday," Mr. Big's 80s hit "To Be With You" and the Everly Brothers classic, "All I Have To Do Is Dream." Lead singer Dustin Ruth has a penchant for melancholic, passionate yearning and the wistful guitars create a sparkling, autumnal atmosphere that's equal parts brooding, poignant and earnest. The only problem is the band might have gotten too creative for their own good. Aside from by-the-book opener "Everyday," and their run-of-the-mill, slightly amateur take on Mr. Big, none of the other three songs sound anything even remotely close to their predecessor. And while that's usually a good thing here, Dustin Ruth's vocals don't exactly have the kind of range or sass to delineate this as something worth coming back to.

On the Everly Brother's classic "All I Have to Do is Dream," the song is overly light-hearted and rater corny. Forty seconds on it becomes a pain to listen to as the bounciness becomes far too saccharine for its own good. While this kind of thing was popular for Everclear and the late 90s California scene, it sounds a bit forced here. Now granted Holly's song was simple, but dumbing it down to this level is almost an insult to his memory. There's good reason to think Everly Brother descendants are laughing at this interpretation. And then the album makes it most boldest claims. Their version of Tracy Chapman's late 90s blues hit "Give Me One Reason" is just strange, as it morphs into jangly alt-pop akin to the Gin Blossoms. Sounding a bit grungy on the verses, Ruth and company truly hit a home run here. Easily a candidate for modern rock radio, the teetering and puncy guitars are a surefire workout and hot damn this song is gold.

And then comes the biggest surprise of all. "Fix You" features hastened acoustic strumming and sounds indie, earnest and very Californian. A harmonica kicks in and the chorus sounds so far left of Coldplay its remarkable. Then to keep the fun coming, a slide guitar kicks in as well as a pedal steel. Equal parts country, folk and indie, "Fix You," really takes off around the two minute mark and turns into a punchy mid-tempo affair. It's gorgeous, it's original and its absolutely awesome. Were it not for that song though, the entire disc might suffer from a sad case of being quite underwhelming. Sure it shines in places, but with a running time of less than 20 minutes and three shaky tracks to start, this isn't exactly the stuff of legends.

Lead singer Dustin Ruth has admitted that the album was a labor of love and all the songs were used for various reasons because each had special meaning to members of the band. While that's all well and good, the relevance appears to be muddled. Are they not working on new material? Were they too lethargic to put together an entire covers album? Those lingering questions and the album's shaky start might just overwhelm the sheer brilliance of the album's last two tracks, and when that becomes the case, something is very amiss.

Track Listing 1. Everyday (Buddy Holly)
2. All I Have To Do is Dream (Everly Brothers)
3. To Be With You (Mr. Big)
4. Give Me One Reason (Tracy Chapman)
5. Fix You (Coldplay)


Ruth is Dustin Ruth (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica)
Nicholas Wiinikka (lead guitar)
Jesse Counts (bass)
Daniel Passera (drum)


Recommended If You Like Switchfoot, Sherwood, The Send, The Velvet Teen


Find Them Here Myspace
Website
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 23
05:19 AM on 08/21/09
#2
thepianominstre
@joshuahedlund
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I really loved their first album but was only so-so about the second. I didn't intend to check this out but I suppose it deserves a shot... I'll check out what they have on myspace today.
06:33 AM on 08/21/09
#3
inthemidst
Grace and Peace
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This should be interesting. Hopefully the lineup changes don't affect their sound too much, at least negatively. I will definitely be checking this out though. Good review.
06:45 AM on 08/21/09
#4
trappedintime
Yea, you were right about me
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I love Ruth. Dustin has a great voice and their music just makes me feel good.
06:46 AM on 08/21/09
#5
Someone'sCoat
Thank God you see me the way you do
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Haha so weird to see these guys on here. I live 5 minutes from them. Nice shout out to Battle Ground.
08:43 AM on 08/21/09
#6
singyoutocoma
Find a thread to pull...
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Random paragraph break. Also, the "Fix You features" should be edited.

Good review. Not sure what to expect from this one. I'm interested to hear the Tracy Chapman cover though.
08:57 AM on 08/21/09
#7
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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Random paragraph break. Also, the "Fix You features" should be edited.

Good review. Not sure what to expect from this one. I'm interested to hear the Tracy Chapman cover though.
Thanks for the "Fix You" heads up. What paragraph break? I appreciate your copy-editing. Much obliged and humbled. Thanks for reading.
09:03 AM on 08/21/09
#8
JordanBuell
and sail belly up to the clouds
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I am really liking the "fix you" cover. most bands shouldn't even attempt to cover a song like "fix you" but they put a really nice spin on it.
09:34 AM on 08/21/09
#9
songydarko
..
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Hmm I should check this out. I like Ruth.
09:48 AM on 08/21/09
blindrider529
***NICKEL CREEK*** <--GO LISTEN NOW
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Haha so weird to see these guys on here. I live 5 minutes from them. Nice shout out to Battle Ground.
My mom grew up in Battle Ground
09:55 AM on 08/21/09
oncedarkness
Listen to Josh Garrels
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I'm a big fan of Ruth. I know that they aren't too well known, but they deserve more fans than they have. I'll have to check this out despite the apparently so-so first songs.
09:56 AM on 08/21/09
oncedarkness
Listen to Josh Garrels
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Thanks for the "Fix You" heads up. What paragraph break?
Quote:
Their version of

Tracy Chapman's late 90s blues hit "Give Me One Reason" is just strange, as it morphs into jangly alt-pop akin to the Gin Blossoms.
Here.
09:57 AM on 08/21/09
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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Fixed! Huge help. Thank you so much.
10:03 AM on 08/21/09
thebuffalo
The Foolish King
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first off...dustin ruth is a super nice dude, just so you know

second...considering that anorak came out less than a year ago, is it so bad that an indie band comes out with just a covers ep? i mean, recording can be expensive and they aren't exactly the top selling band from tooth and nail. i think this was just something fun that they wanted to do...house of heroes only did 3 songs on their beatles covers ep. most of your criticism seemed fair and you're a much better writer than i am, i just thought calling them lazy for coming out with an ep instead of a full length to be kinda weak.
10:17 AM on 08/21/09
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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first off...dustin ruth is a super nice dude, just so you know

second...considering that anorak came out less than a year ago, is it so bad that an indie band comes out with just a covers ep? i mean, recording can be expensive and they aren't exactly the top selling band from tooth and nail. i think this was just something fun that they wanted to do...house of heroes only did 3 songs on their beatles covers ep. most of your criticism seemed fair and you're a much better writer than i am, i just thought calling them lazy for coming out with an ep instead of a full length to be kinda weak.
The latter part may be true so I can't defend that point. You are totally correct. Also, I think the world of Dustin Ruth. Super awesome guy. Really respect his band. I was just hoping for more from this EP is all.
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