Atlas is proving to be just that for RÜFÜS, allowing them to discover the globe as the globe discovers them. Their debut album has gone on to be a huge success in their native Australia, and is now set for its UK release where it has set the airwaves alight, and set them up to tour the UK, US and the rest of Europe.
The Sydney-based trio are yet another success story from Triple J’s Unearthed enterprise and have come a long way from recording in their DIY studios amongst the west coast of Australia; a remote farmhouse and a hollowed out water tank producing a handful of singles and EP’s. However, their hard work since 2010, internal collaboration and self-production have enabled the boys to establish a trademark house sound, and traverse the atlas with their catchy, danceable tunes.
The album commences with a stripped back synth and vocal intro on Sundream, before dropping into deep, richly layered house beats. The catchy falsetto chorus is head-noddingly endearing, as is the delicate breakdown. Take Me drops straight into its dancey chorus, with chunkier, bass-heavy verses, displaying the trio’s ability to write an addictive synth hook. Atlas continues to showcase the band’s sophisticated blending of electro pop with house, with Tonight perhaps the poppiest dancefloor banger. Modest Life is a funkier exploration, whereas Rendezvous exhibits a quieter, loungey vibe. Desert Night presents the least danceable characteristics of the singles; it’s completely chilled out.
Simplicity is Bliss displays some pretty electronics, although contradicts the title with its echoey production proving much less simplistic than intricately layered. Unforgiven includes female guest vocals from Jess Polard, bringing a welcome mix and delicacy to the vocal personality. With prior track Sarah also a softer endeavour, Two Clocks brings back the thumping chorus with a jerking beat and shiny synth. Imaginary Air closes Atlas, a dark, celestial, lengthy instrumental until some vocals appear almost four minutes in, leaving on an atmospheric and spacious note.
RÜFÜS have managed to create a sound that is truly their own, whilst nods to their house influences like Booka Shade and The Chemical Brothers are clear. The healthy dose of modern pop infusion and ability to create driving melodies has enabled their tunes – which capture the bright party tone of the Australian Summer – to excel across seas and borders. The boys attribute their success to a complete democratic approach, where nobody is “bound to any one instrument”. The three lads combined to write and produce each aspect of the album, enabling creative decisions to flow, to the credit and beauty of Atlas.