Label: Sub Pop
Catalog #: 71026
Travel through the desert of pop long enough and, no matter the odds, eventually you’ll find an oasis. And it just might be frozen.
When The Ruby Suns’ main mover Ryan McPhun alighted in Oslo, Norway in the winter of 2010, he knew he’d found an artistic haven. He’d always been a musical wayfarer, collecting sounds and styles from his travels around the globe, depositing them into three knockout Ruby Suns albums (2006’s The Ruby Suns, 2008’s Sea Lion and 2010’s Fight Softly). Amidst Scandinavia’s icy architecture, fjords and indomitable gloss-pop, McPhun found the inspiration for Christopher.
Christopher is an album about starting over, but not necessarily moving forward. It’s a breakup album, but not necessarily a sad one. The Christopher referred to in the album title is part of an Auckland-based inside joke that we’re on the outside of. To you and me, Christopher is a metaphor: He’s that awkward, hormonal menace from when you were young and foolish and eager for everything. The story of Christopher mirrors McPhun’s coming of age: After a childhood spent in nerdy isolation, hiding away in his bedroom with his guitar while his older sister hosted high school ragers in their parents’ Ventura, CA home; after leaving home; after splitting from his long-term girlfriend and bandmate, McPhun has stopped thinking so much and joined the party.
McPhun and A-list engineer Chris Coady (Beach House, Grizzly Bear, Gang Gang Dance) polished Christopher to an opalescent sheen, yielding the kind of expensive-sounding, future-leaning ear candy typically in the province of Top 40 radio.
Christopher‘s opening song-floating on synths and ecstatic dancefloor energy-details McPhun’s inebriated encounter with his musical crush, Robyn, at a music festival. “Flower among the leaves is what you are,” he sings, his sheepish grin practically bursting out of your speakers, “cold glass of water in the desert of pop.”
Takes one to know one, Ryan.