Back home in her native Australia Ruby Boots, real name Bex Chilcott, found few opportunities for the blend of classic rock and Americana she was playing so she decided to up-sticks and move to Nashville. Since then she’s been frustrated by the assumption that because she lives in Music City she must be a country singer. Signing with Bloodshot Records based out of Chicago has given her freedom to push her music beyond such genre limitations and Don’t Talk About It is a confident collection of killer tunes.
The blistering opening track It’s So Cruel is a fuzzy scream of guitars and glam rock drumming. She has sass and strut as she sings about her attraction to a typical bad boy. I’m no fool but I think I could be, she sings without fear of consequences. If it doesn’t have a happy ending then at least they had fun. Believe in Heaven also roars out of the blocks, with a Spectorish girl group drum beat and backing vocals (she even sings ‘be my baby’) before the song tears away into the stratosphere.
The title track is a woozy heartbreaker, backed up by friend Nikki Lane who also contributed to the songwriting on the album. This is a story of regret but the narrator won’t let anyone see or hear about her pain. If this was ‘alternative country’ as it is billed by my Apple Music then there would be pedal steel or violin but Ruby Boots isn’t interested in exploiting the Nashville sound just to fit into the trendy Americana genre. She’s her own woman.
Actually the most obvious influence on this record is dearly departed Tom Petty and his special kind of heartland rock music, heard most notably on Easy Way Out and Infatuation – two of the best tunes on here with catchy melodies and lovely jangly guitars.
The ballad Break My Heart Twice is a tender plea to a lover, and you can’t help but feel sympathy for her probably doomed romance. The next song works in tandem – if he does break her heart she’ll make it though. She’s tough, a survivor and you can’t keep this girl down. And well there’s always Somebody Else, as she sings on the punky track of the same name.
Closing with the bluesy Don’t Give A Damn, she shouts out to her ex who has a new love. There’s a lot of Stones in this song and it’s one of my favourites on the album, the guitars screech like a fuck you to this loser guy who let her down. It’s a cathartic end to an album which isn’t afraid to expose emotional vulnerabilities, even if sadness never lingers for too long.
Don’t Talk About It is a strong album of infectious tunes worth shouting about.