Ruth Ruth’s 1995 debut, Laughing Gallery, was a shot of power pop that fit right in with its time. The hooks were catchy, the mood was upbeat, the lyrics were dark; it had everything in its right place. An offbeat EP and a dreadful follow-up later, Ruth Ruth has only the songs they want to play, the way they want to play them. Which would be great if this were the kind of music that needed an independent setting. Unfortunately, Ruth Ruth works best with the pressure to bring the pop. Now, the hooks are catchy, the beat is there, but nothing resonates and none of it has any bite. Sure, after a few listens you can get “Waiting for the Rain” stuck in the part of your brain that’s still thirteen, but then you’ll end up wishing you had just listened to their first record instead.
When a pop band falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?