If you don’t know the name Vex Ruffin, buckle down and pay attention. Vex Ruffin is the name of a musician and his latest album. Vex Ruffin is some super creative music relying on good ol’ synthpunk principles. Vex Ruffin is just plain awesome. How awesome? He got signed to Stone Throw Records just by sending in a demo. The new self-titled album is a testament to all of this praise, Vex combines his mesmerizing vocals and clean cut melodies to create a wonderful experience.
Vex Ruffin is minimalistic, experimental, sometimes a little bit industrial, and often very much hypnotizing and haunting. Without any context, Vex Ruffin seems like the kind of guy who’d be playing alongside bands like Nervous Gender or Colin Newman. It’s a very special simple and synth intensive sound that’s been needing a comeback –Vex Ruffin hits the nail on the head. While songs like “Warm Life” give a more up beat, chilled-out tone, other songs such as, “Need More Followers,” offers a more ominous melody. Vex Ruffin plays around with a myriad of simple yet haunting melodies that leave you both uncomfortable and incredibly satisfied. Vex Ruffin is a modern synthpunk legend.
When Vex Ruffin actually starts off his new self-titled album, it’s hard to say what will come. Deep, repetitive synth notes build a firm foundation as a layer of sounds is built on top, “Living for the Future,” is a great opening track just to tease the ears. It’s three minutes of simplicity and alluring vocals; as you listen you melt into your chair, the music is taking over. The second track, “Prime of my Life,” is immediately more active. A bass line and a simple digital drum beat ring out through the entirety of the song. Vex sings out, “This is the prime of my life, it’s only the prime of my life,” as a series of added high pitched notes and small samples get tossed in. Early on it’s easy to understand how great keeping it simple can be. Vex Ruffin doesn’t need a five piece band complete with an in studio orchestra to get his point across, instead atmospheric jams loop the listener in and set the mood just fine.
The lack of polyphony in this album is interesting. A lack of layers is refreshing to hear. The level of restraint Vex Ruffin has is even more surprising. The entire experience is very clean yet abrasive. It’s one album you want to have time to just listen to –it’s an awe inspiring experience. There’s definitely something psychedelic about the atmosphere of the album. Vex Ruffin (the album) is trippy in a “lose yourself” kind of way. “Down in the Basement” is a perfect example of the incredibly effective atmosphere. Guitar melodies, a conga, and some strange lyrics make for an auditory experience like no other. Vex sings, “Down in the basement, picking your brain, nothing to do, it’s such a shame,” mixed with the instrumentation, it’s eerie.
Honestly, Vex Ruffin probably isn’t for everybody. I personally have a new favorite, but other people may be horrified or bored by the music. To put it simply, if you have a love for synthpunk, industrial, or any other kind of electronic meets punk sort of music, then Vex Ruffin will quickly win you over. There’s no doubt the new self-titled album is impressive. Let’s say you’re a curious individual not sure if you can get into something like this, Vex Ruffin is just accessible enough to be enjoyed by anyone, while still having all the traits of a good synthpunk artist. In conclusion, damn. Vex Ruffin is some fantastic music –there’s just no other way to put it.