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the prime mover of the ruby suns, ryan mcphun has literally traveled around the world to arrive at 'fight softly', the band's third album for memphis industries. mcphun possesses (or is possessed by..) a voracious musical mind and this new album is the kind of head-spinning combination of big-picture vision and sumptuous detail that only comes from an artist with an urgent need to express all the stuff he's seen. and you can dance to it! 'fight softly' veers from the path set by its predecessor, the 2008 release 'sea lion'. thematically, it's not as wide-eyed or lighthearted, picking apart the relationships faced as we pass through the world - with our surroundings, each other, ourselves. sonically, it remains as beat-centric, though these beats are deliciously artificial - stretched and compacted and distorted beyond recognition. melodies are scuzzy and digital, no guitars strummed or basses plucked. mcphun's soulful upper-register croon, swallowed into the mix, replaces group chants and full-throated singalongs. rather than an album of clearly-drawn influences, fight softly is a unique, inscrutable synthesis, more itself than anything else.
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