RÜFÜS – Atlas (album) (Columbia Records)


No one creates the sound of summer quite like Australia’s RÜFÜS.

On 28 April, Columbia Records will release the trio’s debut album Atlas, which went #1 in their native country last year and has already become a Sound Advice favourite of 2014.

Per the press release, Sydney-based Tyrone Lindqvist, James Hunt and Jon George started making music together and formed RÜFÜS back in 2010 just outside the small coastal town Byron Bay. Although the trio had very different upbringings they bonded over their teenage love of electronic music, avidly listening online to Radio 1 Essential Mixes, and tracks by the likes of Booka Shade, Trentemoller and The Chemical Brothers.

The band released their debut EP on their own label Monekeleon a year after forming with two tracks reaching the top 10 in the Hype Machine charts simultaneously. With a growing fan base and mounting online presence, this was followed by another EP – ‘RÜFÜS Blue,’ two tracks of which were selected for coveted Kitsune compilations. With a top 5 in the ARIA dance charts their gathering momentum led to the band signing to Sweat It Out Records, run by the late DJ Ajax, before culminating in them inking a worldwide deal with Columbia.

Taking song smart cues from indie-pop and house music in equal measure, Atlas perfectly blends electronic pop with Balearic-style house resulting in a joyous, impeccable synth-driven pop built for the dancefloor.

Current single Sundream – the album’s fourth single to date – opens proceedings, builds quickly and sets the mood for the record. Combining warm, rhythmic, Caribbean-flavoured keys, a steady bass groove, white-noise washes, and four-to-the-floor house beats, the track is then coloured by Tyrone Lindqvist’s cool-as-a-breeze vocals, which includes a smooth falsetto for the chorus, complete with lyrics about sunsets, horizons, and oceans.

The album’s third single Take Me, which we reviewed earlier this year, follows next and stylistically it boasts similar a joy to that of Cut Copy and Friendly Fires. A brilliant, hook-laden, summer-drenched tune, Take Me is a bonafide hit and album highlight. Likewise, Tonight is pop perfected and gets the body moving immediately with its Ibiza vibes. The breakdown around 2:30 and the subsequent build, complete with Lindqvist’s soaring vocal, creates a moment of pure exhilaration.

Going for the one-two punch, Modest Life starts off slow and chill with Friendly Fires Pala-esque vibes before the beat drops and a brilliant pitch-shifted vocal is introduced for the song’s massive chorus. What a tune!

Without pausing for so much as a breath, things reach fever pitch with Desert Night – an absolute monster track, which has been remixed by a slew of DJ’s including the brilliant Avon Stringer remix, the excellent and smooth Jesse Rose remix, as well as Motez, James Curd, and De$ignated remix (read our review). While literally every track on Atlas could be a single, if there could be only one track that sums up the record, it’s Desert Night.

Like the morning sun that greets you on your way home after a night of dancing, Simplicity and Bliss, with its gorgeously melodic arpeggios, sees the record relax into a more chill-out state for the next couple of tunes.

The darkened and slightly melancholic Unforgiven begins with a Depeche Mode flavour before Sydney vocalist Jess Pollard joins Lindqvist for a duet, and combined with the track’s delayed keys, synth swells, and club beats, Unforgiven takes on a Röyksopp vibe. The lively “Two Clocks” introduces some excellent Latin melodies, vocally and musically, and by 1:40 it becomes one of the most straight-up banging house tunes on the record.

Ending the album on a perfect note is the 7:04 Imaginary Air. A lush electronica number, Imaginary Air invites the listener to lay back, the sounds wash over, and enjoy the journey.

A perfect pop record from start to finish, Atlas encapsulates the feeling of summer in 47 minutes of pure bliss.

ATLAS will be released on 28 April, 2014 via Columbia Records.

Watch the video for Sundream below: