Formed by members of Holy Fuck, The New Lines and The Eighteenth Day Of May, Lake Ruth offer a disarming take on psychedelic indie pop with their début album Actual Entity. It’s a charming glimpse into a world of magic and wonder, although of course not one without its own darkness. Because otherwise pop music just doesn’t tend to work, and this manifestly does.While the album is a coherent piece in its own right, having a distinctive sound that carries from song to song, individual tracks tend to vary in terms of style and influence. Opener “The Greenfield Industrialist”, for example, brings to mind a My Bloody Valentine with cleaner lines and a focus on tune rather than fuzz, while “Cabin Fever” is like is a more fulsome, less wiry Sundays. Even the ghost of Fried-era Julian Cope gets a look-in on “Dr Snow And The Broad Street Pump”.
Things take a slightly proggier turn on “A Victimless Crime”, whose restless, nervy bass line at first threatens to break into Yes‘s “Owner Of A Lonely Heart”, but thinks better of it and decides to underpin a rather lovely and magical tune built around a simple but haunting bell melody. “The Timekeeper’s Lament” adds some psych-rock Doors organ to the mix, yet ends up sounding oddly French for no reason I can really put my finger on, like Gainsbourg invoking the Lizard King by smoking outside a café.For me, Actual Entity‘s highlight is “One Night As I Lay On My Bed”, where English folk music meets the American West (or perhaps, more accurately, parts of Spain PRETENDING to be the American West) courtesy of some supremely high-plains-drifting (yes, I KNOW that one was filmed in the US, but really who gives a shit? We all know the sound I’m getting at) guitar and some supremely Shirley Collins-esque vocal work. Album closer “Yet Still Tomorrow Comes” is the triumphant set-closer, an epic sonic mantra of skirling guitar, bubbling bass and soaring vocals, the kind of thing you could carry on listening to for hours while wishing a band wasn’t actually about to leave the stage.
As a whole, the album’s quite a trip, starting fairly simply and then spreading its arms wider to encompass more and more styles, before a finale which leaves you in space rather than bringing you down again. But, hey, it’s pretty cool up here.