The genesis of The Ripofs EP titled Irrelevant Hits lie in August of 2013 when lead singer and main man Ambrus Nagy had a revelation. He had been frustrated for a long time with his music and lyrics, and had been unable to finish anything. He unexpectedly found himself able to consistently write decent material after composing "Ripof Blues" and the fictitious band The Ripofs was born. Nagy decided to stop worrying about if things sounded like other things and just started writing songs he liked, and filtering them through The Ripofs moniker.
Songs range from bluesy to psych face-melt to abstract sound collages. Acoustic instruments are frequently featured to give a more intimate feeling to the air. Nagy enlisted several members from his old cover band, FelEmLek, featuring Anna Lorencz on violin, Akos Dombi on drums, Gabor Fekete on bass, and Robert Kul on guitars. The end result sounds like some '70s lost classic private press psych record, crossfaded with an epic instrumental post-rock band. Rootsy folk blues meet timeless keening violin and high crystalline guitar lead as on "The Ghost Station near Jacquelin's House" making the best of all genres and avoiding the pitfalls.
It's sort of funny, but the more seemingly humble a record is the more noteworthy it seems. Maybe it's because I'm wary of hype or dislike braggarts, but the more people are straightforward about their art, saying, "This is what I do, to the best of my ability. I hope you like it," the more I like it. And the more I like a record, the more I find evidence to support that claim because no amount of meta-fiction narrative will make your music good or interesting to listen to. But behind the backstory, Nagy has a warm and inviting voice, and both Nagy and Kui are both effective and interesting guitar players, not that flashy, but playing exactly what is called for in the context of the song. I even find the warm surface crackle of vinyl at the beginning of the record very interesting and inviting, creating a timeless feel, perpetuating the time traveling sensation.
Sometimes the dirtier or grittier a record is the quicker and more immediate it becomes. Irrelevant Hits is honest, imaginative and thinks outside of the box, re-imagining psych, folk and blues-rock, and what is possible in each, along the way. Fans of other out there lo-fi auteurs like Kurt Vile or The War On Drugs will get into this one, as well as fans of obscure '70s vinyl.
I'm glad Ambrus Nagy finally broke his dry spell because he appears to be a passionate and creative individual with a lot of interesting things to say. Can't wait for the next one!
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