Sometimes you cook a meal and it’s just a bit… off. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but the taste just isn’t right. All the ingredients are in there, you followed the recipe to the letter, but yet, there’s something missing. A mysterious, delicious addition that would elevate the meal to new heights.
Brand New Power, the debut record from psych-popper Ruby Goon, suffers a similar fate. The album ever-so-slightly misses the mark at every turn, resulting in a perfectly pleasant, if slightly frustrating collection of songs that flatter to deceive time and time again.
On paper, opening track ‘The Globe’ should be a home run. A weirdo, tremolo-infused ditty? What’s not to love? Unfortunately, the reality is much more beige. By leaning too heavily into modern psych quirkiness the track ends up embodying the painfully twee underbelly of much of the genre; nobody wants that.
From here the album slips into a mediocre holding pattern. The almost-there pop of ‘The Tide’ and ‘Spicy Space Pasta’ are pleasant-enough affairs, but deep down you below the wonky trembles you can’t help but notice the distinct lack of that special something. A noticeable hole that demands to be filled by a sound other than pure funk nothingness.
To his credit, Ruby Goon is aware of this issue and seems determined to address the deficiency. The blues-infused ‘Leech!’, and the wild punk-funk of ‘Movie Groovie’ offer up a new spin on his sound, but unfortunately the problem persists. While these tweaks offer a pleasant distraction from the issue at hand, they don’t resolve a thing. If anything these musical detours end up accentuating the mystery.
In the end, what we’re left with is a perfectly passable slab of psych-adjacent pop. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you can’t help but feel that Brand New Power could have been so much more. Maybe Ruby Goon will find that missing ingredient next time out.