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Awash in warm fuzz, its crackling lo-fi static raining down like volcano ash, the self-titled debut from Atlanta’s Rrest is a contemplative affair—a fluid collection of post-2 a.m. summer night-driving anthems and searching, smoke-wispy ballads that will launch you into a rich interior world where the movie of the self flickers numbly, endlessly across the backs of the eyelids.
Rrest is an endearingly sedate, tumbledown collection of what frontman/songwriter Wes Ables and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Teems call “weird, druggy, depresso pop songs.” Weary and mysterious in equal measure, full of blessed broken guitars and a vibey carousel of gutter-cheap electronics, the duo’s new full-length debut is a feast of dreamy dope-smug shoegaze ballads and droning, acoustic-anchored gloom pop.
“We were just free with this record—we acted on spontaneous emotion,” Ables says. “It’s more of a feeling than anything intelligible or thought-out. We were trying to capture the urgency and newness of these songs, recording them as fast as we could, no matter how shitty the equipment.”
The band, admittedly, was not going for perfection (as evidenced by all the gorgeously imperfect moments on the new album). That said, recording at home allowed them ample time to chase their strange muses and whatever esoteric sounds they could dream up. And if their sonic experiments didn’t yield the results they were looking for, there was no reason to rush or force anything—they’d just take off down a new path to see what eureka moments they might shake loose from the electro-folk ether.
The resulting set of wistful, mostly melancholic pop gems does feature a few roll-down-the-widows summer jams, but not in the typical sense. “To be honest,” Ables of says the occasionally candy-coated record, “a lot of it—even the more upbeat stuff—is pretty bleak, lyrically.”
The muted, monochromatic Rrest deals with both trials and triumphs, though it skews heavily toward the former. “Life is a constant battle,” Ables says. “These songs are about failure mostly. With relationships. But I didn’t get too intimate with the details.”
The subject matter is of a piece with the Rrest singer’s detached vocal delivery. “I can’t help it,” Ables says, flashing a grin. “I’m constantly, heartbrokenly depressed—which is great for writing songs.”
“With this record,” Teems says, “as much as we tried to fight it, we just couldn’t stop making these weird, dark pop songs. So we finally embraced it. It’s what we do best.”