Rips are an young quartet out of Brooklyn that’ve been making big noise inside of the colorfully dense NYC rock scene over the past few years. Because a good rock band is so hard to pigeon-hole, it’s easy to say that Rips borrows from probable influences like the Velvet Underground, Television, the Real Kids, Sonic Youth, et al. This, their debut LP, was produced by Austin Brown from Parquet Courts, so it’s just as easy to say that Parquet Courts’ sound comes to a little, also. But, with all of that conjecture compartmentalized, Rips’ new self-titled debut album makes the good grade.
This collection of songs gives Rips a damn fine foundation to be developed upon that’s both sturdy and solid. There’s a presence in their music that’s missing in many of the young rock & roll bands that seem to be surfacing. With that in mind, there’s nothing specific to be pointed to and identified as ‘magical ingredients’ that help set them apart. They excel in incorporating elements that’ve been employed by their predecessors and have begun to craft their own sound and vibe using the sonic patois made famous by the rich scene from which they’ve emerged. As a guitar driven outfit, Rips operates with a loose NYC street rock & roll swagger–especially on the opener, “Losing II”–that expands, channeling feelings of bright 1970s American power pop in cuts like “Psychics,” “Vs” and “No More,” while “Break” and “Save Room” have subtle hints of darkness akin to some of the classic British pop. “Malibu Entropy” and “Delay” conjure thoughts of 1980s college rock. The album is closed perfectly with “Spell,” which manages pull everything together in a nice, mildly chaotic spasm of a package that gets in, does what it’s supposed to do, and calls it a day, clean.
Rips has managed to create material that’s equally rich, intriguing, and sincere. They’ve carved out an impeccable opening for themselves with this debut. Their ability to construct and arrange–whether it’s conscious or innate–is one of their strongest points as a band. From song structuring to track sequencing, Rips’ debut LP is a solid unit built of strong, exciting songs and as a band has its shit together. It’s going to be exciting to see what they serve up next.