It has been a while since I have written anything about an album I’ve been digging, so I thought I would share my thoughts on Ruby Boots’ Bloodshot debut, Don’t Talk About It. I’m going to do the exact opposite of the album’s title — talk about it. Although, I do believe the album has a completely different meaning and you should definitely be talking about it.
Ruby Boots, whose real name is Bex Chilcott, left a troubled home in Perth, Australia to work on pearling boats where is honed her guitar-playing and songwriting. Living a migratory life really shows on Don’t Talk About It with it’s changing tones, textures, and sounds all the while remaining rooted in a theme of emotions and lessons left in the wake of the wreckage of romantic and sexual relationships gone wrong. Helping Ruby deliver are the fine musicians of The Texas Gentlemen backing her dynamic vocals. Nikki Lee also provides background vocals and co-writing credits on title track “Don’t Talk About It” and “I’ll Make It Through.”
Opening with a driving, fuzzed-out, jangly punk rock number “It’s So Cruel” that holds a passionate insistence that she won’t back down while balancing the hope that they’ll “settle on down and get it right the next time around” and the gritty, cruel reality of an adulterous affair. “Believe In Heaven” has a finger-plucked, old-school vibe that reaches a hard rock climax in the chorus.
And, now that Ruby has your attention, she takes you down another sonic path in “Don’t Talk About It” — a standout 1960s girl-group-esque pop song about an unrequited relationship that is both wistful and defiant. In “Break My Heart Twice” we hear a melancholy melody swirling around her plea to a lover, “Don’t mess it up this time/Don’t break my heart twice.” The following track, “I’ll Make It Through”, is an independent, self-persevering number where Ruby makes the sassy declaration, “I’m more than you can handle, baby.” But, the real knockout on Don’t Talk About It is the a cappella “I Am a Woman.” In it Ruby’s voice rings raw, steady, and true. There are moments in the album when Ruby Boots reminds me of Bloodshot label-mate Lydia Loveless, like “Infatuation.” So, if you like Lydia, I can safely say you’ll like Ruby Boots.
Don’t Talk About It is the culmination of Ruby Boots’ independent spirit and nomadic life filled with heartbreak, failed relationships, and sass. And, although, the album contains vast landscapes of sound and mood, Don’t Talk About It is firmly grounded in Ruby’s attitude, charismatic vocals, and engaging songwriting. With Don’t Talk About It, Ruby Boots has finally found her little place in the world and she isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.