Rusko ‘Songs’ – Review

15 May

Rusko is largely responsable for giving Dubstep the cheap, student night, everybody get wasted reputation the genre has aquired. I know It’s not (entirely) his fault that Skrillex is more popular than Burial, but I still feel slightly resentful when I listen to this man’s music – resentful and not to mention completely exhausted. He’s quoted as saying “Brostep is my fault, but now I’ve started to hate it, in a way”. Brostep is the name he’s tried to coin for this overtly masculine, wobbly bass, populist take on the dub-step style and it’s a pretty good way to describe this nonsense. To be fair, Rusko made some interesting, innovative sounds at the tail end of the last decade; his debut, 2010’s ‘O.M.G’, was extremely good in parts. Now it seems he is keen to break away from the monster he helped create.

He succeeds in the respect that much of ‘Songs’ breaks new ground for Rusko; there is a reggae flavour to at least 2/3rds of the album, and comparatively little of it could be described as ‘brostep’. Some of these tunes are successful in the way they break new ground for the dj and taken individual there are  some enjoyable moments. My issue with ‘Songs’, and its a fairly important one, is not how it sounds, it’s that it’s just a bit…well… rubbish.

Lead single ‘Somebody to Love’ is the catchiest thing on here but it’s still hard to like, it’s simply too ADHD and demented. ‘Opium’ on the other hand is bad in a fairly hysterical way – does Rusko not realise how sloppy this mess is? It starts quite nicely with some typically bland female vocalist wailing into the mike over a pleasant enough beat and blaring siren, and it builds in a satisfactory way. Then it inevitably gets to the ‘lets go mental’ drop, which turns out to be a horribly executed mess, built around a collapsing beat and some horrible sounding squeak. It’s like he’s trying to subvert expectations by giving us something a bit wacky but the end result is just laughable.

As a collection of songs, ‘Songs’ fails in that there just aren’t enough quality tunes. As an album it’s an even bigger failure in that it has no flow or momentum, no sense of theme or identity, and nothing interesting to say or understanding of how to say it. In his attempt to move away from the house he helped to build, Rusko has found himself homeless, hopeless and uncertain. ‘Songs’ finds him attempting to break new ground whilst partially clinging to the style that has exploded around him. There’s no doubt that Rusko has talent – and some knack for how to create a club banger – he just needs to learn how to direct it more effectively.

4/10

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