R.U.O.K. Arctic Warmth
By Mike Ventarola
Formed in 2001 in New York,
R.U.O.K. is made up of Jared Apuzzo on drums, Keith Kelly on guitar &
vocals, Jeff Labarbera on bass and Mike Murphy on guitar. This is
R.U.O.K.s third self-released album, named Arctic Warmth in case
you forgot to read the title of this article, and has a kind of 80s new wave
feel fused with melancholy and subdued gothic rock strains. Its a nice
combination, never gets too loud and punky but can get a little choppy when
necessary the heavy bass of Options comes to mind here.
While remaining subdued, R.U.O.K. wont shock you out
of your reverie much, instead being more of a background dark rock style. The
title track, Arctic Warmth, is a neat groove with bright guitar melodies
and well fused drums and bass. Jared and Jeff work well together. Forward
Motions is more laid back, taking an underwater wavy approach.
Divisible gets outright faster with a nice moving rhythm.
Vacant Stations has an interesting bass lope and some
nice harmonized vocals, one of the best here on Arctic Warmth. This is
followed by The Architect which is similar to dozens of other goth-rock
tracks Ive heard, but Blood picks up the pace and gets a bit
interesting and grows to about the largest sound on the album, dangerously
teetering on the edge of punk without falling too far into it. Kiss or Kill
gets faster paced and teeters on this same edge.
Arctic Warmth closes with We Watched You Walk
In, a longer track that opens with a kind of whiny vocal and acoustic
guitar. It gets a little ambient with a strong drum movement, but tends to fade
into the background and become only vaguely part of the surroundings with the
exception of some nice breakdowns near 4 minutes in.
Overall, R.U.O.K.s Arctic Warmth isnt
half bad really, but they dont hold your interest (or at least mine) for
too long. Its made up well, but doesnt give me anything overly
interesting or with aplomb. Its comfortable, cozy and familiar.
Theres some standout tracks, sure, like Options or Vacant
Stations but for the most part I tend to lose the fact that its
playing even when tracks like Forward Motions grow in stature after a
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