Fresh Stream

GROUPER – RUINS

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Need some ultra-depressing winter-y music? GROUPER’s new album Ruins can fill that void for you. Liz Harris’s hushed vocals and minimalist piano serve as the perfect soundtrack to any lonely, chilly night.

What sets Ruins apart from Harris’s past albums is the raw, unedited emotion and mistakes. Yes, mistakes. For example, a microwave beep appears at the end of “Labyrinth”, but Harris left it in the final version. It’s almost as though she wanted to let listeners enter her personal life and take it at face value. Ruins feels completely honest, almost like Grouper is performing for the listener personally. It’s a comforting feeling, like the one that you get while visiting an old friend.

Recorded on a portable 4-track while in Portugal, Harris beautifully unravels all of her emotions. Her lyrics are much more distinguishable on Ruins than her previous releases, which adds to the honesty of the album. On Kranky’s website, Harris notes that “the album is a document… failed structures. Living in the remains of love.” Listeners will hear this theme on tracks such as “Lighthouse”, a somber and empty track that features field recordings of croaking frogs in the distance.

The album as a whole features a sort of unnerving peace. Ruins is simultaneously upsetting, comforting, honest and gritty. If Harris has proven anything with this album, it’s that she has the ability to tug at every nerve in the body. Listeners will not only hear her music, but will feel every note as well.

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