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While Brit-pop, as a genre, had basically died by the late 1990s, a few new bands still stood out as highlights, even if they failed to stir up much attention. Ruth is one of those bands. Recording singles since 1992, the group had a great deal of difficulty finding a record company to release their debut album Harrison, as it was unfortunately shelved for years until finally seeing a release date in 1999. While many of its singles, such as the stellar hits "I Don't Know" and "Valentines Day," had been released as much as three years prior, the record never sounds dated or tired. The band's energy and enthusiasm shine through; they simply sound like they're having fun the entire time, which is something that most bands in the U.K. scene seem to have forgotten how to do. This is not only one of the best power-pop releases of 1999, but one of the very best and most unfortunately overlooked albums of the entire decade. Harrison amounts to nothing but good power pop; composed of loud chords, catchy, singalong choruses, and teary ballads, this release was truly one of 1999's best. (The Japanese import version includes two bonus tracks -- "What Shall We Do?" and "Something Good" -- which are absolutely essential additions, even though the Japanese version features a slightly shuffled track order).

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