Vex Ruffin's second full-length, Conveyor, was inspired by his graveyard-shift job, which heavily disrupted his sleep schedule and caused him numerous personal problems. He details his work process on the album's opening song, "3 AM," during which his bleary voice seems to get stuck in a loop moaning "It's 3 AM" over a detached, lo-fi house beat and reggae drum fills. His music serves as personal therapy, which is why it's often repetitive, and why it's so tense and conflicted. Conveyor isn't as overtly indebted to punk and new wave as his earlier releases, but it's still disturbed and paranoid. It also contains some of his most exciting work yet, distilling his dark energy and channeling the best of the '80s New York underground. First single "The Balance" is a dub-disco monster with an enormous bassline and loads of trippy effects, as well as a guest appearance from old-school rap legend Fab 5 Freddy, who helps Ruffin keep his mind off his troubles and stay positive and focused. He attempts to figure out his place in the world on "The Calling," over a fractured, wobbly beat and sharp horns. "Front" similarly works wonders with a heavy bassline and a crushed, thudding disco shuffle, not to mention blown-out echo and other trippy effects. "Own Lane" has a minimal drum-machine beat similar to the Normal's "Warm Leatherette," but its vocals are less robotic, and slightly ethereal. Ruffin gets more meditative on the six-minute title track that concludes the album, pondering "How long will I be ignored?" over a muted pulse, eventually resolving to block negative thoughts out of his mind. Conveyor is uneasy and sometimes awkward, but it's still a fascinating collision of styles and moods, and it's the most impressive, enjoyable Vex Ruffin release so far.
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AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson