There is little else that brings together electronic music performers, listeners and aficionados alike like a mutual love for home-grown heroes the likes of RÜFÜS DU SOL. But while audiences dwell on their homeland, three bandmates have set their sights and accompanying sounds everywhere from Calpe to California, culminating in perhaps their most vividly transportive opus to date and proving that in the pursuit of new heights, sometimes the way up is down.
If 2018’s solace was to both figuratively and thematically launch the trio into the stratosphere, then the band’s fourth outing is a return to the terrestrial. A living earthiness is tethered to each and every one of the 10 tracks that comprise ‘Surrender’ by virtue of found-sound sample smatterings, in-the-pocket percussive rhythms and a frequent yet subtle bed of electronic synthesis – each element amassing in unmistakable gravitas. ‘I Don’t Wanna Leave’ comes to mind as an excellent example, as a hefty yet delicate dichotomy is depicted in the disparity between scattered beats darting amongst heavy drum strikes.
Lyrically, offerings like ‘Next to Me’ and Alive help root the record in its theme of grounding and centeredness, proclaiming mantras of self-manifestation such as “I wanna feel you standing next to me” and “At least I’m alive”. Always returns a little bit of the fan-favourite ‘Innerbloom’ flavour in its syncopated bass, detuned saw leads and bided length whilst one of the most courageously unique RÜFÜS DU SOL track to date, Wildfire, abstains from any rhythm whatsoever, relying most impressively for the duration of its 4:10 run time on the laurels of an unprecedentedly dynamic and attention-holding compositional prowess.
There is an understated youthful innocence to each song as translated through implementations of child-like choirs and ponderously plucked string samples that permeate as something akin to focal centrepieces. Here, the collective production talent of members Jon George, James Hunt and Tyrone Lindqvist are on full exhibition as the ambiguity of these organic themes are met with their greatest juxtaposition – that of a crystalline sterility. Gated white noise, winding arpeggiations and halls of delayed reverb lend a precise palpability in contrast to the unquantifiable ambiguity of the existing natural themes resulting in an immense sense of scale on par with that of the very earthly domain they portray.
Both a virtual and literal soundtrack to man post-apocalyptically rediscovering earth in a messy tangle of moss and vines, a ‘less is more’ approach to pitfalls of meticulous over-engineering materializes in a much more honest manifestation of narrative and emotion. This time around, there is a tangible absence of pressure to attempt anything manufactured to top charts or set clubs ablaze in lieu of an irrefutable upgrade in songwriting and arrangement ability much more akin to that of a crooning singer-songwriter act. ‘Surrender’ is a brilliant hidden gem still unmistakably RÜFÜS DU SOL on the surface, but cathartically flourishes after the multiple listens it demands into a bountiful oasis of unprecedented dimension and depth.
Tickets to RÜFÜS DU SOL‘s ‘Surrender’ Australian tour are on sale here at 12PM local time on Tuesday 9 November.