On Red Bird Rising’s latest single, words and instrumentals blend together to form an unforgettable musical product that will take some time to wash away, for all the possible reasons. A haunting lyrical premise, gripping musical landscapes, and a brutally impactful delivery.
Out of the tropical Columbia comes Red Bird Rising, a musical project masterminded by multi-instrumentalist Deidrich Donald Weiss, and with Luciano Tucunduva on drums and production duties. The group’s latest release is ‘Ruby’. A harrowing tale of a woman who’s haunted by suicidal thoughts under the influece of her memories of incest earlier in her life. Such a private topic, sung to and from a real person from Weiss’s life, could only ever be executed with exceptional grace, and with such good taste as to warrant the song’s notions towards the titular character ‘Ruby’. Thankfully, Red Bird Rising’s handling of the music is more than fitting, with harrowing, grown up, compelling musical choices being the norm for the song.
From the dramatic aria in the intro, to intricate arrangement details, it seems that not one element of ‘Ruby’ gets left to chance. The eerie, airy pads that populate the song’s sky are effervescent and silken, but the chords they play are saturated with darkness and jazzy richness. The drumming arrangement on ‘Ruby’ is nuanced. The drumless intro smoothly morphs into a punchy, simple beat on the verses, that in turn go to half time beats on a different section, and then back again, consistently driving the song forward with confidence. The two most outstanding musical elements on ‘Ruby’ are the guitars, and Weiss’s voice.
The clean, simple leads on the song are mostly composed of piercing riffs, occasionally overdubbed by searing arpeggios. A buried, acoustic rhythm part sits in the background, providing depth, and the finishing touch to the guitar arrangement. Weiss’s voice is laden with a lazy gravitas that draws you hopelessly in. With his slow delivery of the carefully calculated and venomous poetry that would sit right at home on any of Nick Cave’s darker albums, Weiss gives sufficient time for each word to sink in, almost uncomfortably so, which paradoxically works in clear favor of the song. The final product is a piece of menacing music that’s mature and restrained, with lyrics that would easily hang around in the brain for days.
‘Ruby’ is a perfect song that revels in the tension it creates with its tumultuous harmonies, cutting timbres, and lyrical discomfort. In the end, Weiss implores Ruby to speak up, to let her dark past out, and to fight for a release from its shackles, and in the song’s darkest moments, as well as in its subdued call for victory, he is consistently delivering with elegance and charisma that makes every word and though count.