R. Ring: War Poems, We Rested [Album Review]

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R. Ring
War Poems, We Rested
Don Giovanni Records [2023]

The Fire Note headphone approved

War Poems, We Rested is the sophomore record from R. Ring and it is the band’s first full-length release since their excellent 2017 album Ignite The Rest. The group features the always engaging Kelley Deal (of The Breeders) and the talented musician/Candyland Recording Studio Owner/Engineer Mike Montgomery (of Ampline). Once again, you will hear contributor Laura King (of Bat Fangs) on the drums plus she added other significant arrangements to the album as well.

You can easily say this album was a casualty of the pandemic, as its work was temporarily paused during the shutdown and played a major role in the six year spread between records for R. Ring. The good news is that I think the extra time has paid out huge dividends as War Poems, We Rested is an exceptional sonic experience from start to finish. The album highlights the true passion for making music from the veteran team of Deal and Montgomery and has a seamless creative flow that only gets better with more spins.

The sprawling “Still Life” kicks the record off right with a big almost theatrical instrument opening before Deal’s instantly recognizable raspy cool vocal calmly states “All I want is a cigarette, and someone to pay the rent.” The song then picks up from there with an almost shoegaze guitar spread as Deal’s vocals swirl humming in the background. “Hug” follows next and it keeps your foot tapping with a driving rhythm and a very Breeders vibe that makes the track an album highlight. It also spotlights that Kelley is who she is vocally and R. Ring maximizes those talents at every corner which I completely enjoy. Montgomery takes the mic on “Stole Eye” and his Mac McCaughan (Superchunk) type vocal pulls you in with its soft delivery and instant energy. The track builds and turns out to be one of the bigger indie rock numbers on the album.

R. Ring succeed throughout this album because they offer a multitude of different tempos that really work well as they transition into each other. The haunting “Embers On A Sidewalk” crawls to its finish before sliding into the more chaotic post-punk of “Volunteer.” This back and forth keeps you waiting for more! “Lighter Than A Berry” puts a vulnerable Montgomery vocal out front as the song’s desperation reaches out to you, which then walks the listener into the gorgeous instrumental closer “War Poems,” that features cellist Lori Goldston. At 11 songs in 29 minutes, War Poems, We Rested is an easy instant repeat as you are guaranteed to hear something new upon your next listen. This well balanced release already has me writing R. Ring into our best of the year list and we still have 11 months to go!

“Hug” / “Stole Eye” / “Def Sup”

The Amps / Superchunk / Big Joanie

Ignite The Rest (2017)

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Christopher Anthony
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