RRest – RRest [Self-Titled]

Listen to this record and “enjoy their insomnia, press your temples to the glass, and take a little drive.” -LF

Lee Fowler

out of 10

October 8, 2013
Baby Robot Industries

There is a dark promise in the first notes of RRest’s self-titled album. Bubbling below the steady fuzzy throb of “Oh Man, Why” is a confident assurance that morning will never come. Broken streetlights will flash forever, and no one will ever leave the smoky bar. You can wait up forever, but she’ll never come home. There is only the bleary-eyed drive through scrubby forests, the next exit eternally 100 miles away.

The second track, “Caribbean Sunset” is only a hallucination, a momentary glance in the rear view mirror before another caffeine-fueled delusion takes over. The next few miles of our late-night trek are filled with “Untitled (Sandy),” where a wistful, nostalgic speaker pines after lost love, “I want to waste my time with you.” The neurosis returns on an eerie bed of synth-organ in “Red Bird, Now Flown,” and, finally, on “Benthazone,” the dark promise of the first track is fulfilled. No fleeting memories can take you off that lonely highway. You’re back, hypnotized by the occasional passing car, while lethargic cymbals, occasional piano plinks, echoing guitar, and vocals thick with reverb escort you further into the darkness. It truly is over, and the echoes of your last conversation haunt the ethereal spaces: “She says she don’t know which way she wants to fall; I tell her it’s ok.” You don’t even know if you’re on the right road by the time “Dissolve” arrives, this time with a bleak assurance that “you’re so lost you think you’re found,” followed by the return of the gauzy distortion of the first track. There is a full drum kit in “Vladi” and in “Recycle Bins” and the echoing snare guides you right off the road. “Goodnight, Chanteal” leads you to wide-eyed sleep in a rowdy reverie, declaring “I’m not sure how this will all end.” The tape hiss fades, and it’s all over. That’s how it all ends.

To be clear, Kurt Vile and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have traveled these same highways in recent years, the kind of roads where sounds disappear in the smoky distance and thick voices echo through the radio static. RRest have the vibe and the song of their contemporaries and their contemporaries’ influences, but I get the sense that they might still be safely on the map. There are depths which they skirt but never fully explore. The fuzz could be thicker, the ambiance more oppressive. The nostalgia could be more intense, and the wistful moments even more jarring. Wes Ables and company do what they do so well and so consistently, though, that it’s hard to find fault. They’re a band who only plays past midnight, and that’s where they belong. But there are still alleys and byways they haven’t explored, echoes and shadows they haven’t captured. For now, though, you can enjoy their insomnia, press your temples to the glass, and take a little drive.

-Lee Fowler, October 1, 2013