I should hate this album, The Ruse’s Light in Motion, as it has a strong U2 influence and I haven’t liked U2 in years. I really should hate it, but I love this album. I love everything about this album. This is the most complete and mature album from an unsigned band I have ever heard. Being this good now means they must, eventually, become rock gods. If you’re this talented, you really have no choice in the matter.
The Ruse have a melodic, soothing, cultivated sound with influences from U2, Coldplay, and Travis. John Dauer’s vocals are like a good dram of whisky, smooth, mellow, and rich with a definite Celtic flavour. And he has amazing range and control with the enviable ability to be hauntingly emotive. With such a Brit Rock sound I was sure they would be from London, Glasgow, or even Dublin. I was surprised to find out that they are actually from New York, Atlanta, and L.A.
“Everything Comes With a Price”, the first track on the album, is definitely an ode to Coldplay — similar punchy guitar solos and melodic vocals mixed with feedback and a mild baseline make it a creamy concoction all their own. “Swallow You” has loads of drum and the same punchy guitar sound that is so reminiscent of Coldplay, but as with all the tracks on Light in Motion, they mix it with that huge stadium-rock sound that is so U2.
“Devil in the Girl” is a change of tack with acoustic guitar and piano in the background, making it feel like Travis had Coldplay’s lovechild (sorry, Gwyneth). The effect is full-bodied and luxuriant. If the first track on the album can be considered an ode to Coldplay, then the last track, “Hold Tight”, is arguably a poetic and succulent ode to U2. Dauer’s almost Celtic vocals are sumptuous and the lyrics are dynamic and passionate.
Although The Ruse are unashamed to show their influences in their music, they have made the sound and feeling of Light in Motion their own. It’s a breathless, impassioned, honest album with all the qualities that invoke feelings of being mellow and lustful, sultry and comfy, all at the same time. I honestly cannot find anything bad say about Light in Motion except, why aren’t they signed? There must be a reason. But, for now, it’s beyond my comprehension.