RÜFÜS DU SOL carve a soulful, organic niche on sophomore album ‘Bloom’ [Album Review]
Indie dance trio RÜFÜS DU SOL have become a pivotal component of the new wave of Australian producers championing North America’s music festival lineups. Alongside Aussie acts like Alison Wonderland, Cut Snake, Hayden James, Bell Towers, Thomas Jack, Anna Lunoe, Ta-ku, Chet Faker and Peking Duk, this new generation of talent has crafted and capitalized on niche categories all their own within the electronic dance space. RÜFÜS’s nu-disco vibe in particular has clearly resonated with fans across the world after the rampant success of hits “You Were Right,” “Innerbloom” and “Like An Animal” encapsulated by a sold out fall 2015 tour.
Earning a spot on Dancing Astronaut’s 25 Artists to Watch in 2016 list, RÜFÜS have blossomed their musicality into an ethereal escape that has swiftly enticed fans to inadvertently demand their name on sought-after rosters such as Coachella and a recently announced spring tour, including a stop alongside Odesza at iconic performance venue Red Rocks in Colorado.
On their sophomore album release Bloom, the Sydney-bred trifecta balance fluid musicianship with contagious synths and tingle-inducing melodies. The 11-track project, released through Odesza‘s Foreign Family Collective, is exactly what you’d expect — and that’s a great thing. Unlike most artists who venture out of their realm for the sake of trendiness, RÜFÜS know their strengths and they play to them on this record. “I guess it was less about a specific place or person and more about where we were at personally while writing the record,” noted the group’s percussionist, James Hunt. “We were in this process of touring pretty heavily and there was that sense of displacement and kind of floating around so we naturally developed a huge appreciation for home and that sense of the familiar. It was this kind of cyclical process that seemed to shape the record.”
Furthermore, members Tyrone Lindqvist, Jon George and James Hunt display a friendship reminiscent of a jam session between grade school buddies in a garage band enhanced by an artistic chemistry that has quickly shifted them from opening act to critically-praised dance staple. James notes the multi-directional influences for the project, saying, “At the start we were actually listening to a whole range of sample based artists like Vanilla, HNNY and The Avalanches. We loved that sense of things sounding dusty, warped and warbly, and having this sense of reinterpretation about it.” James continued, “It was really cool to have this initial sonic direction because we found more and more that the scope and sound of the album was almost this play off between this imperfect sounding airy aesthetic with things that were cleaner, more minimal and spacious.”
RÜFÜS DU SOL’s secret ingredient — blending elements of both live performance and electronic music — is grown organically, chalk full of subtle vehemence. Hunt adds, “We never really write music to drive a strong message or agenda, we basically just write music to take ourselves away somewhere in the studio and hopefully transport or elevate other people too in the process. We were kind of in our own little bubble for the whole writing process for this record which was pretty nice.”
While the overall flow on Bloom is representative of their eclectic musical experiences — many of which stem from constant displacement — each track flows seamlessly without appearing too forcibly thought out. The album’s lead record, “Brighter,” as well as new single “Say A Prayer,” envelop an airy melancholia that serves as the work’s primary undertone. Meanwhile, the bouncier uptempo house records like “Be With You” and “Until The Sun Needs To Rise” offer a slightly more charged selection of potential club anthems. Listening to the album, it’s quite obvious that every song has potential to be its own standout single.
Tyrone Lindqvist, the group’s vocalist, is also highly deserving of praise, stealthily fluctuating from raspy inflections to a soaring falsetto, teleporting listeners to a ’70s bell-bottomed dance floor. A standout vocal performance needful of attention is “Tell Me,” an emotional lover’s plea brought to life by Tyrone’s breezy pipes (which, by the way, sound just as good live.
Ultimately, RÜFÜS DU SOL embody the current shift in listening patterns by dance music fans, carving a niche that maintains a synthesized edge while also imbuing their music with the full-depths of human emotion — the latter of which is lacking in many of today’s electronic releases. While their sound may be undefinable at times, their passion is evidently unstoppable.