The Ruby Suns, Painted Palms

When: Fri., Feb. 15, 9 p.m. 2013

By all reports, the Ruby Suns' new one is a breakup album, but the cryptically titled Christopher is more notable in that it sees Ruby mainman Ryan McPhun wholeheartedly embracing the synth-y, '80s-gazing glow-pop that's all the rage nowadays. Some truly gaudy synthwork graced 2010's experimental Fight Softly as well, but that felt more like a collection of willfully weird experiments than the familiar pop pastiches that make up Christopher. Granted, there's some interesting stuff buried under the rote house beats and warbly vocal overdubs—and at least one masterwork in the heartfelt and devastatingly gorgeous "Dramatikk"—but for the most part it feels like McPhun is following trends rather than either leading them or, better yet, ignoring them. Considering how miraculously inventive and unique the 2008 Ruby Suns' Sea Lion still sounds today, that's a letdown. NED LANNAMANN

Price: $12

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