May 25, 2016

Stream: Rue - Single Rat Mom

 Rue reveals many different personalities on Single Rat Mom.

Rue is a rat who lives in Pittsburgh, PA that belongs to Laura Lee Burkhardt. Rue is also the name of Laura Lee's solo project, which when performing full band consists of Dylan on drums, Annajane on guitar, and Laura Anne on bass. Unless you're knee deep in the Pittsburgh music scene, Rue will likely be a new to you as the band has very recently changed their name (formerly Chattel Tail). Single Rat Mom is their first full album as Rue and what makes it the most compelling is its many genre shifts and bold versatility.

Single Rat Mom should not be written off as any certain type of album after the first track, or even the second or third. Laura Lee channels her inner Kimya Dawson on opener "Pinky Swear," but then quickly shifts gears after every subsequent track. Some songs rely on strong standalone vocals ("I dnt rlly") where others jingle by with hoppy acoustic chords ("Always and Forever"). Meanwhile, tracks like "Ghosted" and "Single Rat" are worth calling out for their introspective nature and dark folky roots. Every song has a different personality and mood, but the album's outlook remains more or less the same. Single Rat Mom's thematic backbone rides on the passing of time. People fall in love, things change, feelings come and go, but at the end of the day it's all a grand learning experience – something to tuck into your back pocket for later days. In some ways, the idea is comforting, even empowering, and makes this thing we call "love" a little less daunting.

Rue on Single Rat Mom:
"I grab at feelings, trace their outlines with words and sounds. It is unfair not to – to leave them undefined. Single Rat Mom is a collection of songs I've been making over the span of the last year, each of them prompted by whatever I was feeling at the time and written by means I thought possible and necessary. Time dictates much in my songs: some were written just a few hours before going into record, other have existed for months, and I believe their age is audible. I thought I was never going to be brave enough to be alone, but once I got there I found so much comfort and healing, these songs are a tribute to that. How you hear them is as close to how they were originally formed, some yelled out while stuck in traffic, some only existing in email drafts, some rehearsed over and over.

Embellishments were made possible by the kindness of my friends, by lending me their instruments, and facilitating recording and mixing. Laura Cramer and Dan Willis of WPTS recorded, mixed and mastered and helped create percussion. Rue is a baby band that started with just me, my ukulele, and diary in 2013. Dylan Chieffalo was next to join on drums, with Annajane Lowe to follow the next year. We recorded our EP "It Could Be You" this winter and Laura Anne Cramer joined in March as our bassist when Annajane switched to second guitar. We are getting ready to go on our first tour in just a week!"


Listen to Rue on bandcamp.

Written by Diana Cirullo