The Ringards share sleazy new single 'Touch Me'
Words by Chiara Strazzulla
It is easy to feel, when listening to the Ringards’ recent singles in chronological order, that the East London post-punk outfit has been going from strength to strength as they keep working on their music, and their latest offering, ‘Touch Me’, a familiar tune for any attendees of their live shows, does nothing but support this conclusion.
Photo Credit: Spela Cedilnik
There is a more comfortable vibe to this track compared to its immediate predecessors, like the songwriting feels that it can relax into the flow of the tune in a way that the somewhat antsy composing of previous songs doesn’t possess. Aided once more by a very clean, perceptive but not too intrusive, production, which has by now become somewhat of a trademark for The Ringards,
‘Touch Me’ feels smooth with just a pinch of sleazy, self-assured without becoming complacent; it nods at, more than quote, a certain classical quality of sound that goes straight back to the late 60s and early 70s, and it might be, in this sense, the most nostalgic song they’ve put out so far. Yet this is certainly not a track that lives entirely in the past: the Ringards have always had a distinct avant-garde edge to their sound, and what they are doing here is more like an experiment of taking the different components of an old-style rock classic and rearranging them into a new, partly unexpected shape. The familiar parts feel comfortable; the innovations – often subtle – are intriguing, and what keeps the song safely out of the pitfalls of comfortable nostalgia.
The hook luring you into the song, turning into the main skeleton onto which all other parts are built, is a laid-back bass line which owes something to soul music, a perfect complement to the smooth flow of baritone vocals – out of all The Ringards tracks, this is very much the one that best enables vocalist Enzo Salinie to lean into his range and show the breadth of expression it allows him. This is thematically important, too, given that the song revolves around the blend of vulnerability and satisfaction experienced in performing: there is an ambiguity to the track’s attitude around this theme, which is almost coy in places, but outwardly indulgent in other, which is perfectly mirrored by the flow of the sound. With a chorus made more full-bodied by backing vocals which may have come straight out of classic 80s disco, clever little synth inserts which are craftily embedded in the main tune, and a guitar sound which is less intrusive than in previous tracks but still ever-present, ‘Touch Me’ is a song that has a distinct pull to it, drawing you in and making you feel like you’re sinking into its sound.
'Touch Me' artwork
Out of all the hallmarks of growth that might be found in this track, perhaps this one is the most remarkable: that it is very clever in an unobtrusive way, playing with the listener’s mind without seeming to do so. The ambiguity and tension between title and theme are one expression of this cleverness, the attention paid to the minutiae of composition another. Impressive as previous singles by The Ringards were, there is a maturity here that is now much more fully-formed than in the band’s other releases.
That this is achieved without sacrificing any of the more innovative hallmarks of their music is in itself an impressive success. There is a feeling, too, that foundations are being laid for a compilation of sounds that may well grow into what might be an impressive long player. The balance of classic vibes and contemporary quirks makes this track both a curiosity and a harbinger of something intriguing and compelling which is still in the process of being formed; it is a testament to The Ringards’ ingenuity that this process of formation is equally as interesting as its eventual outcome promises to be.
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