Ruth is one of those rare bands that comes around every so often that just might catch listeners by
surprise. They don't have the defining image of bands like Kiss or Slipknot, and they certainly don't have the on-stage
theatrics of Family Force 5 or infamous bat-eater Ozzy Osbourne to make them stand out. In fact, Ruth could easily slip under
the radar, despite making one quality album after another. Yet the consistency in which they are able to deliver solid,
heartfelt rock easily makes them one of the best acts on Tooth and Nail Records' star-studded roster.
Anorak is the perfect anthem to small-town America. With its organic yet refined feel, it's reminiscent of
times spent with friends and family, watching the sunset on the porch with just a guitar in hand. In the world that Ruth
creates, the singing doesn't stop until all of the good times have been had, even if this is long after dark. It invokes
feelings of peace and rest, and a simpler life, far removed from the troubles of the Internet Age and the complexities that
life brings. In a fast-paced world full of selfishness where neighbors are strangers next door, Anorak is a bright
light of the past, linking to a hopeful future. Please slow down and let Anorak be heard.
Production from label mate Chris Keene (of genre-bending indie-folk duo Surrogate) adds an extra layer of depth to the
already stellar production provided by Tooth and Nail favorite Aaron Sprinkle. Keene brings his expertise and
multi-instrumental sensibility to the table on over half of the tracks of Anorak. What results is a timeless mixture
of light, sunny pop and acoustic folk rock laden with spiritual messages; and a little bit of harmonica.
The album's first single, "Back to the Five," is a perfect example of everything that Ruth does well. Lead singer
Dustin Ruth introduces the track overtop a soft guitar part, leading to what ends in a soaring chorus. As he admits his
failures, they turn into beauty and he cries, "I give it all up for you, to do the things you want me to do. And I'm headed
It's a shame that there are only 10 tracks on Anorak. By the time "Dead Giveaway," the album's closer,
rolls around Ruth really only leaves two options open; press repeat or listen to last year's debut album, Secondhand Dreaming.
Flaws are few are far between on Anorak with the only real exception being "Miracle Photo," a raw acoustic track
that feels out of place next to the others. Overall, the album is just solid. With this though, Anorak ends on a
bittersweet note, one that will serve Ruth well in the long run; fans will most certainly want to come back for more.
- Reviewed: 10/26/08, written by Flip Choquette of Jesusfreakhideout.com