The Russian Futurists

Me, Myself and Rye...An Introduction to the Russian Futurists

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In this wonderful post-Internet age, when albums can be ordered from halfway around the world with nothing more than an email address and a credit card, there's something almost nostalgic about an album like Me, Myself and Rye...An Introduction to the Russian Futurists. As recently as during MTV's early years, when suburban teens across America were being introduced to colorful and exotic British new wave acts, it was a common procedure for an American label to cut and paste a debut album for the U.S. market out of the two or three extant albums, plus non-LP singles, that a band like the Thompson Twins or Japan had already released in their native land. In a turnaround, British indie Memphis Industries gathered tracks from the first three albums by Canada's Russian Futurists -- The Method of Modern Love, Let's Get Ready to Crumble, and Our Thickness -- into this concise 13-track introduction to Matthew Hart's one-man indie electronica extravaganza. It makes total sense that Memphis Industries, home of the Go! Team and the Pipettes, among others, would be interested in the Russian Futurists: Hart's sample-based sugar-high aesthetic hits the exact same pleasure centers as the aforementioned bands. Brilliantly gimmicky singles like "Paul Simon" (with its simple but devastatingly effective hook of one-horn fanfare sample that repeats like clockwork at the end of every verse) and the winsome "It's Not Really Cold When It Snows" showcase Hart's exceptional knack for clever arrangements to support melodically substantial tubes. Culling three albums down into 13 well-chosen high points puts the biggest emphasis on Hart's knack for pop tunes that combine D.I.Y. bedroom electronica with the populist heart of a born hitmaker: comparisons to pre-69 Love Songs Magnetic Fields albums are near impossible to resist, but Hart is a less showboating frontman. If anything, his occasionally weedy vocals (think of the Apples in Stereo's Robert Schneider at his most cloying) are the record's only disappointment. It's hard not to see the immediate pure pop appeal of a tune like "Precious Metals," however; those who already have the original North American releases don't need this attractively packaged curio, but no matter what part of the world you're from, Me, Myself and Rye...An Introduction to the Russian Futurists is definitely worth checking out.

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