Stacie Hestand – Raised Rowdy Contributor
It’s impossible to talk about anything Ruston Kelly releases without first discussing his sound – even with a song that isn’t particularly sad, Kelly has a way of getting you in your feelings. Unflinching vulnerability radiates through his lyrics, which find their niche among the elegantly crafted melodies that have come to characterize his music. Essentially, his songs are what you would picture playing in the background as the protagonist of your story stares out the car window on a rainy day, watching the raindrops race each other down the glass.
Cerebral and at times abstract, Kelly’s music requires a listener’s full attention to be fully appreciated; his new single “Rubber” is governed by this same principle. The second track released off his upcoming album Shape & Destroy finds Kelly taking a hard look at personal failings while haunted by an all-encompassing question: “Can I bounce back? Or just lay flat?” Listeners follow along as Kelly wades through the murky waters of introspection, a journey which manifests in the single as an intriguing slideshow of ambiguous moments in time.
Written solely by Kelly, “Rubber” opens with acoustic picking that lends a sense of urgency to the opening bars of the single. This quickly gives way to a softer sound as the rasp of his voice unfurls like a rolling fog, expanding and then floating above the track’s subdued percussion. This ethereal sound wraps around incisive lyrics which blend imagery and analogies in perfect unison:
“And she’s like Agatha Christie
And I’m more like Voltaire
Everything is a theory
Carried away with the morning air”
Speaking about the video for the song, Kelly explains: “Rubber is about the fear of being too malleable. Being pulled in too many directions without honoring the substance of your own. So you question everything to get back to the essential truth of yourself. My friends and directors, Stephen Kinigopoulos & Alexa King, came up with a brilliant representation of this through the use of sign language and free form dance that perfectly exemplifies the songs intent.”
Shape & Destroy (pre-save/pre-order here) is set to release on August 28 and will be Kelly’s second full studio album after 2018’s Dying Star. He also has two EPs: Dirt Emo Vol. 1 (2019) and Halloween (2017). Follow along with Ruston Kelly on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, his website, and YouTube to stay updated on current happenings and to keep an eye out for more new music ahead of the album release.