Review by: Gimpleg

North to the Future is the second LP from Rust Ring and it delivers so much more of everything. This album is good from beginning to end. Living on the edges of emo, punk, rock, and indie, this album avoids fitting nicely into a genre which allows it to live and breathe as it’s own thing. 

Starting with Outline Alaska, Rust Ring leads off the album telling you exactly what is in store the rest of the way; something faster, more diverse, and better produced. Everyone is just more experienced and the sound really showcases it. William Covert’s drums on this track are the best on the album and the diversity of drums adds a layer that really makes this track stick out, and Joram takes us North to the Future as the album title is derived from a lyric in this track.

The next two tracks on this album are two of the three singles released prior to the album in “Incognito” and “Tiny Frame”. Incognito is kind of a rock ballad about being yourself, being open, and coming out to friends- and the fears and struggles that accompany it. The gang vocals in this song add a texture that a lot of the album misses. “Tiny Frame” is one of my favorite tracks on the album- a song about body euphoria! It’s refreshing hearing a positive song about transition and happiness- and bisexuality. Then the guitar solo adds something to the feel of the song and is something that a lot of Indie pop doesn’t bring, and the backing vocals here are a nice touch.

The best track, however, was not one of the three singles released before the album. “Three Sunrises” takes us into a time machine and back to a 1980s power pop track, which is easily Rust Ring’s most experimental song and their best song to date. The keys in the intro lead us on an 80s inspired sci-fi like journey with bright makeup, shiny silver costumes and huge shoulder pads. Joram’s voice is the perfect guide for this journey as no other song feels paired with her voice as well as this. After the chorus the keys fade down and the metronome-like drum beat carries the song through the verse and your toes can’t resist keeping rhythm. As the music begins to fade out we get subjected to an amazingly placed and performed smooth 80s jazz sax solo that comes completely unexpected and yet perfectly fitting before bridging us back to the chorus and keys, now with an added echo of the chorus provided by backing vocals. This track has everything and I couldn’t ask for more.

” ‘Every Time We Touch’ Comes On” is a nice slower song reminiscing of the past that sometimes makes me want to slow dance and has another great guitar solo, and a nice emo finish as Rust Ring continues to showcase their mastery of styles that has continued to expand. Guilty is the last single from before the album released, and really highlights the group vocals and faster indie rock music set over lyrics of self loathing. 

What’s impressive about this album is that the pacing and the genre switches from song to song, but everything fits together and flows so nicely. Slow, emotional ballads, power pop, indie, hard rock, jazz horns, rocking guitar solos, keys that range across genres, and it all blends to form a cohesive album. This journey takes us across the country, from Alaska to Chicago, from 80s pop to 2020’s indie, the journey from lovers and friends, self exploration, from anxiety and depression to euphoria, and its all told in a single cohesive album that never feels disjointed. All the pieces fit as Joram and the rest of Rust Ring guide us North- to the Future.


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