The Ruts were sort of our local punk band, coming originally from Anglesey, but apart from the “In a Rut” single, my punk friends and I never really got them and considered them heavy metal… which as about the worst thing you could be back in 1979! Of course in retrospect they were not really much like heavy metal – it was probably just that they could actually play. When singer Malcolm Owen died and the remaining Ruts DC backed the late great Kevin Coyne on his Sanity Stomp album, there was further disappointment as the record turned out to be Coyne’s flattest sounding to date.With this long held ambivalence to the group, I certainly expected very little of a 2013 reunion of the two surviving members. In the event, David Ruffy and John “Segs” Jennings have pulled off a successful collection of dubby grooves, brimming with old school effects but not rooted in the past. Guest performers include contemporary dancehall stars like Aynzli Jones and Tenor Fly and the likes of The Mad Professor and Prince Fatty add to the sonic seasoning. The result is a kaleidoscope of reggae styles from the past forty years with such unexpected adornments as “London Dub”‘s almost Floydian slide guitar and picked arpeggios and Steve ‘Dub’ Jones‘ Space Synths which add a cosmic flourish throughout.
Obviously the guests bring an enormous amount to the picture, but at the heart of it all are Ruffy and Jennings’ perfect rhythms – two old friends whose long time love and understanding of reggae may just have made them London’s very own Sly and Robbie.