Black Habit | Paw Tracks
By RICHARD BECK  |  March 5, 2008
3.5 3.5 Stars
The members of the Brooklyn-based trio Rings — Nina Mehta, Abby Portner, and Kate Rosko — are hippies with focus. Sharing instrumental duties on their debut full-length, they make use of piano, clean guitars, and tom-tom-heavy drums to construct knotty, organic instrumental loops that reward close listening with subtle compositional twists and turns. All three members sing, contributing everything from ghostly, repetitious half-phrases to chirpy speak-singing. Although the disc’s childlike sensibility does reflect Rings’ unabashed naïveté and idealism (consider song titles like “All Right Peace” and “Mom Dance”), they never fall into the trap of yearning for nothing in particular. Weird occasional flurries of synthesized chaos on the closing track, “Teepee,” as well as a startling moment of rhythmic crying on “Is He Handsome” create the impression that Rings are after a wide-eyed openness to all the possibilities of emotional and interpersonal life, even the ugly ones.
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