Album Review: Rufio – “Anybody Out There”

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Rufio is back after 3 years of apparent inactivity and 5 years since their last release The Comfort Of Home, and let me tell you, I’m really glad they’ve returned.

Rufio has always been one of those bands I’d listen to when I’m feeling energetic and it was a drag when they announced their breakup only a year after I had finally gotten in to them. Naturally, I was stoked when they hinted at a return to the music.

Summer 2010. Anybody Out There is finally out.

While boasting a different sound, there is no doubt about it: this is definitely a Rufio album. Starting things off “Little World”–which is a hybrid of the complexity of “Out Of Control” and the sing-along choruses of “White Lights”– you are immediately thrust back into that technical pop punk we have been missing for half a decade.

Now, hardcore fans are going to whine about the lack of the old-school Rufio sound, swearing this album is more of a pop record than it is punk. Umm, let’s go back to Perhaps, I Suppose… The song “One Slow Dance” is pretty poppy, if I do say so myself. Don’t complain, haters. You’ll still get your old-school fix on tracks like “Under 18” and “All That Lasts”.

Speaking of the latter track, the two songs from their latest The Loneliest EP made it onto this album, completely redone, sounding like brand new tracks.

I can’t get over the complexity of this album. There is a sort of musical structure that I can’t quite pin just yet that strings this whole album together. And Scott Seller’s voice this time around sounds better than ever. You don’t believe me? Check out the songs “Gold And Silver” and “This I Swear”. Clark Domae’s guitar work in addition to Scott’s riffs are impressive, as always. And newcomer Terry Stirling Jr. dominates the drums in a way that makes me forget Mike Jimenez left the band.

Now, this leads me to the new bassist, Taylor Albaugh. He’s good, but he’s no Jon Berry, who had a different, more complex style. The basslines throughout Anybody Out There are probably one of the two low points of the album. The intricate guitar work tends to overpower the basic bass structure.

The OTHER low point is the closing track “Moonshine”, which sounds like the proverbial moody acoustic rock track. Sorry guys, this is no “Over It”. That song worked because acoustic tracks were not stereotypically “required” for an album to be a high-seller. “Moonshine” tries too hard and takes away from the momentum that builds up throughout the album. It’s not a bad song, but I, personally, would have kept that track as a B-side or something.

At just over 35 minutes, Anybody Out There is a fun, quick album that sums up summer. I guarantee it will take a few listens to grasp the true amazingness that Rufio has released. I know this because I felt the same way: I had initially been disappointed by this release. But look at this as a new start for Rufio, not a continuation.

Here’s hoping they don’t go on indefinite hiatus again. I want a follow-up album very, very soon.

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