Are You My Friend?
Ruth Ruth, the band so nice they named it twice, step up to the majors with the release of Are You My Friend? A change of line up for this New York City band — new drummer, Christian Nakata and additional guitarist, Michael Kotch — completes their transformation from trio to quartet. For Ruth Ruth, a new label and new line up add up to a great new sound! Are You My Friend? is a melodic, tremolo guitar-filled pop record that’s about a million miles away from their 1995 release, The Little Death, which spawned their break-through hit, the decidedly punk “Uninvited.” Now Ruth sound like a mutant conglomeration of the Lovin’ Spoonful, the Cars and Elvis Costello. Chris Kennedy’s warm, borderline falsetto vocals float over bass riffs that crawl up and down the spine like a lingering chill on Maxwell Smart’s confessional love song “Agent 99.” The CD’s final track, the punk rave-up “Brainiac” almost feels like a little love tap to the Ruth Ruth that went before. With potential hits like “Condition,” “Her from Planet Fur” (inspired by The Rocky Horror Picture Show), and the Jason Falkneresque “Ponies” all on the same disc, it’s hard to imagine that Ruth Ruth are more than a “Cute Band Alert” away from garnering some serious notoriety. RCA Records, 1540 Broadway, 34th Floor, New York, NY 10036