"Symptoms" - New Ruins
Evocative, echoey, and hypnotic, "Symptoms" unwinds to an irresistible 7/4 beat that manages to move with clock-like precision and yet also with that irregular seven-count glitch. The odd but resolute beat, kept largely by an acoustic guitar lick (and only intermittently by any percussion at all), works as a central focal point, a reliable ground on top of which muddier elements--the reverbed vocals, the indistinct background drone--can operate without entirely deconstructing the song. "Symptoms" feels at once dainty and rough-edged, traditional and experimental; the way the strings (cello and violin, it seems) bow plaintive melodies over and around a loose mash of softly clanging, echoing guitars (in particular beginning at 1:48), with a drumbeat that rarely rises about the sound of a heartbeat, kind of sums up the idiosyncratic amalgam the band appears to be seeking.
Once a duo, New Ruins, from Illinois, has expanded to quintet for their second CD, entitled We Make Our Own Bad Luck, which was released at the end of April on Parasol Records. MP3 via Parasol.