Ruby Roses: Under the Sunlight

Ruby Roses Under the SunlightPop music has received a lot of undeserved scorn over the years. Maybe it’s the genre’s inane and desperate publicity stunts (I’m looking at you, Miley), its association with the greedy major labels, or simply because we all know it’s actively marketed for fourteen-year-old girls. Whatever the case may be, radio-friendly music seems to leave a bad taste in our mouths.  Yet deep down, nobody can deny a catchy melody.  That’s where Wayne-based Ruby Roses comes in, with their latest EP, Under the Sunlight.

A little bit of The Beatles, a smidgen of Oasis, an iota of Sloan, a drop of . . . well, you get the idea. Under the Sunlight is unadulterated pop confection at it’s finest. The EP’s four tracks consist of tight-knit hooks interwoven with abounding chords and propulsive percussion. The sheltering vocals of Evan Hooker and Aaron Mazie contrast well with the magnetic distortion of guitar lines. And this is consistent throughout the album: enough aggression to bite but also enough warmth to identify with. This divergence is exemplified lyrically in “Catch a Dream” — “Just one blink and I’m back in it/Like a marionette who cuts the strings down for himself.”

Yet, if there’s any one particular fault with this record, it’s the lyrics. Much like the trappings of pop music as a whole, the poetry on Under the Sunlight often plays things all too safe. Easy rhymes are lousy all over, with the worst offender being the opening track’s “We’ll be together/Come any weather/Summer is here to stay forever.” Pleasant, but overall meaningless.  Each song has these moments, where the sugary lines sound a little too insincere. And the problem isn’t in the execution; it’s in the expectations. Most of the lines sound as if Ruby Roses attempted to rewrite the latest Top Forty anthem.

However, if you’re willing to look past the lyrics, as anyone who frequents the pop genre must often do, Under the Sunlight is a rewarding album. The melodies, harmonies, and instrumentation all provide ear worms capable of burrowing deep into your pleasure center. So if Ruby Roses were seeking to create something that you’ll catch yourself humming absentmindedly, then they’ve succeeded. It’s certainly less embarrassing than being caught jamming out to “Wrecking Ball.”