Rusted Root – The Movement (Shanachie)
By Scott Creney
Back in 1995 we all laughed at Rusted Root. Who would have thought their brand of world-influenced positivity would become a dominant strain of indie music a generation later? Seriously, listen to this song and tell me Animal Collective, Vampire Weekend, Givers, Grouplove, etc. etc. haven’t been listening to this on repeat since they were in elementary school. If you can’t hear the origins of Avey Tare pitch-shifting whelpy singing style, then you don’t have ears.
All the contemporary indie bands name-drop Talking Heads and Paul Simon, but it all seems so clear to me now. They were just too embarrassed to mention Rusted Root, the cowards. We have spent the last few years living in their shadows. As surely as 80s indie was influenced by the Velvet Underground, as the early 90’s was influenced by the Stooges, well so have the Tweens been dominated by the influence of Rusted Root. If that doesn’t say something about everything then I don’t know what does.
So it makes sense that Rusted Root, those thirsty sarsaparilla drinkers at the Double-R ranch, would return 10 years later to reach their dirt-encrusted fingers through time and space, to claim the inheritance that is so rightfully theirs. They are the Afropop-influenced fathers come to slap their sons in the face, to show them how this shit is done.
You can imagine them saying, THIS is how you insert Fela Kuti into hippie music you goddamned sons-of-bitches. It’s every bit as polyrhythmic, as coated in sunshiney love, in easy truths and naïve wisdom, as Stereogum’s favorite bands this week. If the indie audience doesn’t buy this album in truckloads it’s only because they don’t know any better.
Consider the evidence. The sound of college radio is Rusted Root.
History belongs to Rusted Root. And at the rate the world is going, the future will belong to them as well. Rusted Root over and over, forever and ever amen. Are there any videos for the new album? Of course not. Rusted Root doesn’t play by the rules. They create them.