The work of two brothers—JP and Wes Parker—Ruth Good is a garage rock duo out of Richmond, Virginia. Their sound is something of a trade-off between runaway energy and stoned sluggishness, as though all the action is taking place a few clicks removed from your direct experience, or else being viewed through the wrong end of a telescope.
As such, it’s difficult to tell whether the shuffling sound is shaking itself sober or spiralling inward toward complete inertia. After the brief prologue of ‘Mosquitoes’, which feels like laying at the bottom of a pool and looking up, ‘Got My Penz’ announces itself with spiky guitars and a paranoid, hyperactive twitchiness, though this slows into a dreamy lethargy by the close. ‘Baklava’ is altogether more slick, taking R&B vibes to creating a floaty sensation, a night where the mixture is good and your feet seem to glide across the ground.
In another stylistic pivot which proves Ruth Good have more than one string to their bow, ‘Shooting Range’ is something of a folk song, complete with earthy twang and lyrics. Again, there’s something slightly detached about the sound, the edges softened and blurred as if viewed through glass, the singer’s voice scratchy as if lost in the real drama, some time in the distant past. ‘Ice Water’ follows a similar thread but is more developed, a country rock song etched with garage flourishes, ending up somewhere between a classic driving song and 90s emo hit.
‘YLIE’ employs poppy vibes to spread its message, the refrain probably the most direct of the record. It’s fitting, then, that the sound is the most vivid too, the colours flowing back as if in response to the love in question. This is followed by ‘Milkshake Boyz’, which retains the same sense of emotion but changes style to a Minus-The Bear-style sound. The song makes for a fitting close, descending from the coherent beginning to mathy breakdowns and barely-audible lyrics, as though the previous paranoia is back and sitting still becomes difficult once more, the fading out at the end suggests the cycle keeps on spinning.
Spliff EP is out now via Citrus City Records and you can get it from Bandcamp.