Album Review: Ruins by Grouper

RuinsArtist: Grouper
Album: Ruins
Album Reviewer: Michael Mariscal
Rating: 3.5
new rating copy3
Grouper’s new album is beautiful, most music critics would agree.  Faint, simple, flowing piano lines gently enter and exit, occasionally colored by the equally soft voice of Liz Harris.  Together, they combine to make something that demands a feeling of melancholy and seriousness that seems almost inherently profound.
But that doesn’t mean you have to like it.  Listening to this album almost feels like going to an art museum.  The black and white picture of a stick you try to analyze?  That’s Made of Metal and Made of Air, the first and last songs of the album that are so devoid of rhythm or notes that they push the boundaries of what is music.  The two-colored canvas you kinda like but not nearly enough to actually care about? That’s Labyrinth and Holifernes, two songs each with only one piano riff and slight changes in it.
The rest resembles the pieces you may actually enjoy, the art that inspires you, at least enough to say, “I should do this more”.  This album is full of really pretty moments, and if you have the attention span to listen to the whole thing, you’ll be rewarded with more than enough of them.
To be honest, this album is boring.  It does absolutely nothing to capture the listener’s attention.  But its simple beauty makes it feel like it’s my fault for not drawing the attention from myself.  And that feeling has some truth to it: I give the album a 3.5.

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