Brief, exhilarating songs about love…of course, Pop is founded upon such foundations. But in Matthew Adam Hart’s gifted hands, our wonder and gleeful idiocy is laid out in rare, brilliant detail. Critics and the public alike have recognized in Hart one of the most impressive compositional minds to emerge in years – the romantic eye of a Stephen Merritt married to the epic melodic sweep of recent Flaming Lips or vintage Human League – a talent simultaneously modest but mighty, plainspoken but rigorously intelligent, creating miniature electronic epics that cost a shoestring but sound as if they were spun from gold.
With three internationally acclaimed releases already under their belt The Russian Futurists, born and bred in the cold and lonely eastern-
Ontario border-town of Cornwall, raised on hockey [“loving the Leafs is like being in love with a terrible woman” – Matt Hart] come home with their first ever domestic release: Me, Myself and Rye.
Me, Myself and Rye is an amalgam of The Russian Futurists’ hottest songs assembled from their three previous albums, all digitally remastered.
The Russian Futurists international profile saw them become UK-label mates with The Go! Team and The Pipettes, spawned a whirlwind experience that put them on a UK tour with Peter, Bjorn & John, North American dates with long time friends Caribou and Junior Boys and playing to 10000 fans at the Mada Festival in Brazil, while receiving acclaim and praise from the likes of NME, Clash, Time Out London, BBC, and X-FM. All the while producer-songwriter-singer extraordinaire Matthew Adam Hart has been remixing the new Shout Out Louds (Merge Records) single “Tonight I Have To Leave It” and the Stars (Arts & Crafts) “The First Five Times”.
Surprisingly, Hart’s roots as a producer and arranger lie not in Pop. “I was a compulsive Hip Hop producer from age 13 to 19,” he admits, “and would finish a completed Hip Hop track, from start to finish, every day after school.”
This interest is still evident in the Russian Futurists’ electronic rhythms, but a passion for the Pop music of his childhood (Abbey Road was a prominent obsession) is the heart of The Russian Futurists. “When I eventually began to try to make music other than beats it wasn’t my intention to make Pop. It just came out. I felt I was being stifled by Hip Hop and wanted to experiment with melody.”
Big beats, sad songs and sugary melodies have rarely sounded as good together in music as the opening of Let’s Get Ready To Crumble: “I do pop ’cause that’s what my heart goes/I don’t call it art, no sir/That denotes that when I wrote it I had other motives.” "Paul Simon" sounds so effervescent, and Hart's boyish voice nestles so snuggly amidst its econo-pop score, that only a consultation with the CD booklet reveals the mournful confession: "You're my first pint, on the worst nights/My gut knots up, my heart bursts like a piñata pops/This has gotta stop."
This honesty shines through in all of The Russian Futurists’ songs – all the more remarkable for them having been recorded in Matthew Hart’s bedroom (Hart cheekily describes his sound as a result of “trying to
make all of my songs huge, ambitious productions on very limiting and awful equipment.”)
Hart constructs his songs under the ongoing influence of Phil Spector, Brian Wilson (“He showed me that Pop was able to be listenable and experimental at the same time”), Fleetwood Mac (“They taught me how to be dramatic, plus I just love their music”), and the comforting
simplicity of AM Radio. Of the latter, Hart says, “I would like to end up on AM when I’m old and grey. There are some songs that were produced to sound like they belonged there. I used to sit up at night and drink a bottle of red wine and listen to AM to get inspired. My roommates used to think I was kind of a weirdo when they would walk into my room at 2 am and find me drunk listening to ‘Buttons & Bows.’”
Me, Myself & Rye is a perfect introduction to The Russian Futurists for new listeners and a gift to be treasured by the ultra-fans who’ve supported The Ru