Ruler - Winning Star Champion LPBarsuk Records
The music on Ruler's debut album - hook-heavy, assertive, inspiring - is made for motion. It's a soundtrack for moving forward, for getting better, in terms of both healing and self-improvement. Built on main man Matt Batey's lifelong fears, anxieties, addictions, and failures, not to mention his preternatural gift for creating instantly classic indie rock, these eleven songs follow that old adage by Robert Frost: The best way out is through. And in this case the best way through is with the volume cranked up all the way. No platitudes or love songs here - only raw interior monologue and deep character analysis. For most us, this stuff is hard to confront and even harder to articulate. Batey's lyrics are pointedly specific - so much so that they're immediately relatable. And they're set to soaring tunes that are beautifully and earnestly upbeat. Amid his brilliance and artistry, Batey exposes himself as one of us. That's his purpose and his gift, spelled out in Winning Star Champion's bold, beautiful songs: Life hurts, but it's great, and that's it.