One of the most striking things about Ready Fire Aim’s debut is how taut the production is. Each track on This Changes Nothing unfolds with vigorous synth, charismatic rhythm, and vocals that fold right below the music. Singer Sage Rader’s collaboration with DJ and producer Shaun Morris is an audacious project, but everything about their partnership sounds natural.
The comparison game is delicate business when reviewing something new. With Ready Fire Aim, the comparisons are readily apparent from the opening notes of This Changes Nothing. Hints of Nine Inch Nails play with touches of Depeche Mode and birth an unreservedly danceable blend of grimy synth-pop, trip-hop, and industrial rock with a killer beat and an alluring set of melodies.
Every outwardly natural instrument is squeezed and pushed through effects pedals and production techniques. Beats are clipped and snipped together with the precision and love of a dedicated connoisseur. The melodies are easily spread and form the driving force, moving the record through some rather extensive songs without letting up.
For a debut, This Changes Nothing is a brave record. Songs venture to and flirt with the five-minute mark, which can be strenuous for this type of music when it’s not done well. As it is, Morris and Rader have composed a mesmerizing debut.
The album begins on a lingering note, as electric violin is put through the ringer by Morris and Rader’s voice coos over the soft electro-beats and guitar touches as he builds to an Erasure-like chorus on “End of Over.”
Production is valiant on the guitar-driven pop of “Wannabe Your,” one of my personal favourites from the album, and Rader’s channelling of Perry Farrell in the winding electro-fog of “I Would For You” is a clipped-beat marvel.
Other tunes follow more traditional song structures, like the ode to funky British 80s pop that is “Beautiful Thing” or the glistening gloss of “So Fine.”
Morris’ technical way of approaching the music matches wits perfectly with Rader’s desire to be a bit of an enigma and the end results are danceable songs tuned to technical perfection.
This Changes Nothing cracks and sizzles through its 12 bold tracks, releasing an unrelenting blend of dance, pop, industrial rock, and infectious inevitable grooves. Ready Fire Aim’s debut album begs to be heard.