Rufio is a band that will just never win. They’re just one of those bands that has been pigeon-holed right out of the gates as a lame pop-punk band, and, more descriptively, one that isn’t very good. Their sugary yet technical approach to the genre has not gone over well with the music community over the last four or so years, starting with their debut full-length, Perhaps, I Suppose. Chock full of speedy riffs and whiny lyrics about girls and “love,” the album was accepted by those deeply immersed in their pop-punk stage (myself included, admittedly), even more so than another pop-punk band that had emerged at almost exactly the same time: Yellowcard. Unfortunately, longevity has not been something the band has possessed, and with their second album, the abomination 1985 (and even beforehand), the band’s popularity decreased tenfold. Fast forward to the present, and The Comfort Of Home is coming out with but a whimper, and the question still remains: Does anyone really even care?
The formula is still the same: standard pop-punk riffs (toned down even more than the first two albums, in fact), quick drum fills, and awful and childish lyrics (although I sense that the band had not intended it to be that way). However, there is one glaring addition to The Comfort Of Home, which…wait for it, wait for it…drives me out of control. Electronics? Keyboards? Yes, Rufio has incorporated some cheesy keyboard lines to some of their choruses, and added some effects to some assorted guitar parts as well. The results are horrible, as if an already clichéd band needed to add any more clichés. Also, while on the topic of guitars, the lead guitar noodling randomly and sloppily thrown into certain parts of songs (“Let Fate Decide” is a prime offender) makes for an aggravating listen as well, as it just does not fit with the tone of Rufio’s music at all. A final gripe is that vocalist Scott Sellers still has a sickeningly weak voice; there is no “oomph” behind his voice whatsoever, to the point where it simply sounds like he stood in front of a microphone, reciting the lyrics as poetry, bored to death. Yes, it gets that bad. This, in turn, adds to more focus on how bad the voice sounds, and in a snowball effect makes the listener notice how awful the lyrics are. While there are no real show-stopping lines that induce vomit, one listen to The Comfort Of Home will make you bust out your angsty sixth grade journal and wonder how you wrote better songs than Rufio does now.
On the bright side, “Never Learn” is a sweet, sweet song. With a dark guitar tone and rapid-fire drumming á la Strung Out circa The Element Of Sonic Defiance, it is by and large the highlight of the album, and acts as a song that you truthfully will want to listen to more than once. Sadly, only a few other songs found here induce the same feelings, but Rufio has embedded some diamonds in the rough. The album ends particularly strong with “My Escape” and its solid choruses, and strewn amidst the *gasp* four “Interlude[s],” “A Simple Line” and “Walk Don’t Run” also stand out. The pace of the album, however, is destroyed with nauseating mid-paced numbers like “Drowning” and “A View To Save.” The Comfort Of Home is truly deserving of the title “unbalanced.”
Case in point: This is simply just not a very good CD. With a few good songs thrown about carelessly in no particular order, surrounded by a bunch of bad ones, Rufio has unsuccessfully tried to revive their careers. It will be a miracle if this band recruits any new fans with The Comfort Of Home. It will be much less of one if they lose fans. I don’t think I will ever listen to this album straight through ever again.
Oh, one more thing (and this is directed at Rufio): For the love of God, please, please, PLEASE give your songs more interesting titles. I am finding myself hard-pressed to listen to songs named “Life Songs” and “Mental Games.”
“A Simple Line”
“Walk Don’t Run”