The Russian Futurists
The beginning of a new year is always filled with the knowledge that I missed out on many releases from the previous year that I should have listened to. To an obsessive music collector with a somewhat limited budget, those releases that don't get heard during the calendar year are always a slight thorn in the side. Let's Get Ready To Crumble is just one of the many excellent little releases that I missed from 2003, and if you're one of those people who likes the bubblegum pop, get ready to get swept away on a bed of catchy keyboard melodies, great vocals, and chunky lo-fi beats.
The Russian Futurists aren't a collective or even a duo, rather this is the work of one Matthew Adam Hart. Apparently this one-man show creates this hyper-catchy bedroom pop in some secret confines somewhere in Canada (actually, his house). Imagine a cross between The Magnetic Fields, the greatest soundtrack songs from cheesy high-school movies of the 1980s, and an ever-so-small touch of lo-fi hip hop (in the beats, yo) and the result is something close to what you get on Let's Get Ready To Crumble.
Hart knows his modus operandi and pretty much pulls things off without a hitch on the short (ie nicely replayable) 10 track, 27-minute release. Getting all pretense out of the way quickly, the first line of the album is, 'I do pop 'cause that's what my heart goes / I don't call it art, no sir.' It may not be art, but that doesn't keep the release from sticking in my craw as much as any album that I've heard over the course of the past year. "When The Sun Drops From The Sky" finds soaring two-part vocals crooning over cheesy keyboards while "Precious Metals" bounces along with a thumping beat and even more sing-song vocals and light keyboard melodies.
At times, things almost get out-of-hand in terms of the cheese factor (as on the clunky preset opening of "You Dot, Me Dot, T-Dot"), but Hart usually manages to wrangle things in and keep things from going completely off the scale in terms of blush factor (although your more serious indie friends may still question your playing of this release). For sheer pop gorgeousness, there's not a whole lot of songs that hang with "It's Not Really Cold When It Snows," a synthpop gem that is as simple as it is stunning. While this stuff probably won't ever make it on the radio next to the hyper-glossed hits that are currently spinning, Let's Get Ready To Crumble is another little gem of a release, and yet another reason to wonder whether any music currently coming out of Canada is mediocore.