Listen to This: Former Pomonas Frontman Justin Ripley Releases Home Recordings
By RICHARD GINTOWT
Look out Robert Pollard – Justin Ripley is hot on your tail.
The moppy-haired Lawrence expatriate is releasing a 28-song solo album called Vowels, and it’s got at least as many keepers as Standard Gargoyle Decisions (or any other substandard Pollard opus of late). Recorded mostly at his pad in Seattle (where Ripley’s been hanging out since jettisoning Lawrence a year ago), Vowels is a mixed bag of singer-songwritery folk, lo-fi indie pop and quirky instrumentals. It’s a bedroom record to the max: chock-full of tambourine but entirely devoid of drums. Ripley’s old band, the Pomonas, possessed a sloppy yet tuneful charm that carries over with Vowels.
“Noise Narratives” steals a page out of the Sebadoh playbook, while “If You Are Single, Become A Boyfriend” evokes the Velvet Underground. Ripley plays piano on much of the record, allowing him to downshift to ballad mode and ruminate on how we live in the greatest country in the world (“We Are the Best”). Besides his knack for penning melodies sans cliché, Ripley’s sense of humor is still his strongest asset, as evidenced in lines like: I’ll guess your weight now / I’m comfortable with you / You and your onus.