There are many times when you’ll hear the beginning of a song and you know it’s going to be great. You get excited when a song begins with a great riff or a killer bass line and then proceeds to knock your expectations out of the park. None of the songs on Vex Ruffin’s album model this; Vex Ruffin’s Self-Titled is an album that tries to reach great heights only succeeds by falling flat on its ass. It’s not really clear what genre this fits under and it’s not clear whether or not Vex Ruffin is a band or a singer-songwriter’s project title, but regardless of its origin, Self-Titled does not compare to other CDs we have received.
The album begins with a track called “Living For the Future,” which sounded less like a song and more like a crazy person droning on in his cell at the psych ward. There’s no percussion, really awkward sounding strings and synths, and simply put, the vocals are droning and awful. As harsh a beginning as the track is to the album, the pattern, thankfully, doesn’t continue. The next few tracks, most notably “Prime of My Life,” “It Will Come,” and “Won Day,” feature promising backing tracks that set the mood for rapped verses. If Vex Ruffin does anything right, it’s creating really interesting beats with pleasing bass lines to go with them.
However, sadly Vex Ruffin’s vocals and lyrics really ruin the promising instrumentals. The lead singer for Vex Ruffin is nothing at all special, and the quality of the vocals leaves a lot to be desired. The droning voice and the awkward vocal effects that accompanies it on almost all of the tracks really take away from the backing tracks. This is the most heartbreaking part of this album because the instrumentals really deserve merit. Had Vex Ruffin gone the way of Gorillaz and featured some rap artists on each track, this album would have been incredible. Instead, it sounds more like a tired old version of Beck. That being said one track that I think should be set apart from the rest of the album is Track 10, “Forget It.” Forget It is a slow jam that gives Vex Ruffin some promise. The vocals are actually quite pleasant with the mood of the tune and the repeating accordian-style synths add a great texture to this somber number. However, it’s the only track on the album that’s really worth mentioning. Otherwise, Vex Ruffin’s Self-Titled gets a D+ at best.