Advanced Copy: The Russian Futurists

Jeff Yerger

Oh Canada! It’s the home of Wayne Gretzky, maple syrup, Rush and oh yeah, Arcade Fire. Needless to say, this country has a pretty impressive track record when it comes to hockey pucks and, more importantly, music. 

There is one Canadian band, however, that has unfairly been thrown under the radar: the Russian Futurists. 

Matthew Adam Hart, the lone member of the band, has put out a few albums in the past that have been praised by the likes of Graham Coxon of Blur and Peter Buck of R.E.M. 

Even Pitchfork, Spin and Uncut have given his work some stellar reviews. His new album, “The Weight’s on the Wheels,” is sure to continue this positive trend, and perhaps he may not be Canada’s best-kept secret anymore. 

Hart, alongside producers Michael Musmano (Outkast) and Michael Brauer (Coldplay, John Mayer, the Bravery), are a hat trick in the studio. 

Their hip-hop beats and lo-fi electronics drive each song with a high energy level relative to that of Matt and Kim. 

If we’re going to go along with this comparison, “Golden Years” would be the Canadian cousin to “Daylight.” While it may be not quite as catchy, Hart’s vocals bounce over phased-out piano hooks as the 808-drum beat blares a mellow groove. 

Clearly, Hart is comfortable working with fun starlight keyboards and electronic bass lines that flirt along the lines of club or techno genres. 

The electronics aren’t glitchy or ragged; Hart’s sound is very polished with a lot of focus on big production. No doubt songs like the galloping opener “Hoeing Weeds Sowing Seeds” or the old-school hip-hop vibe of “100 Shopping Days ‘Til Christmas” are catchy, but the hooks can at times be weak, which is a bit of a drawback. 

“One Night, One Kiss” might be the most endearing track on the album. Ruth Minnikin of Heavy Blinkers provides her Zooey Deschanel-esque vocal that pairs playfully along with Hart’s confident delivery. If She & Him wrote a disco song, this is what it would sound like.

 “Walk With a Crutch” is another song that catches the listener by surprise here. It’s probably the least polished song on the album, but its juicy samples are pretty hard to resist.

As it turns out, much of “The Weight’s on the Wheels” is pretty hard to resist. If you’re into catchy, indie-disco pop (if there ever was such a genre), then this album is definitely worth a look. Canada may not be able to keep the Russian Futurists within its borders anymore.