Ruen Brothers Ten Paces
Release Date: June 2, 2023
Label: Yep Roc
“There’s nobody else like these guys making classic, timeless, unique music at this level.” - Rick Rubin
Ruen Brothers return with a moody ode to western film classics on their third full-length album, Ten Paces.
Ruen Brothers have created neo-noir gold on their new ten-song collection, Ten Paces – their first for Yep Roc Records. It follows their 2018 Rick Rubin-produced debut All My Shades of Blue and 2021’s ULTRAMODERN.
Brothers Rupert and Henry Stansall grew up in the industrial steel town of Scunthorpe in Northeast England, and were raised saddling up, strumming guitars and spending hours in the fields, bars and barns in the middle of nowhere. On their new tour-de-force project, the brothers have embraced their love for the American westerns that they grew up watching with their mother, and have put a modern spin on the classic genre. “We want to transport listeners into the immersive world of Ten Paces, delivering something cinematic and personal,” says Rupert who notes albums like Marty Robbins’ Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs as an influence.
Ten Paces was produced by Rupert, seeing him deftly preserving the quality and authenticity of early recording gear and techniques while achieving a unique sound. It was recorded on opposite sides of America, where they currently reside: Rupert crafting the base of the recordings from his Los Angeles studio with Brooklyn-based Henry laying down acoustic guitar and vocals. Throughout Ten Paces, Henry’s dynamic four-octave range is on display with him jumping between octaves in songs where emotions are highest, reflecting his love for Roy Orbison; and using his lower octave range to create a grounded and conversational feel, true to the laconic and hard boiled characters of the West, reflecting his years of covering Johnny Cash songs in British pubs.
Ruen Brothers open Ten Paces with “Slow Draw” which features sound effects like triggers cocking, gunshots and ricochets – added to help create a soundscape to compliment the track’s title. It’s the first of several times throughout the album that they use sound effects to expand the aural environment. Additional album highlights include early single “Don’t Know What’s Come Over You” which was inspired by B-movie alien flicks and mixes acoustic instruments with mid-century sci-fi synths, the unnerving and anxiety-filled “The Fear,” and “Bullet Blues” which likens a relationship to a duel and starts off intimate and conversational before crescendoing towards “the final round.”
Much of the cinematic sonic ingenuity found throughout Ten Paces was born from a turbulent period of bad luck and good fortune. After the pandemic canceled their live music gigs - including a promising tour with rising alt-country star Orville Peck - the duo turned to writing music for film. Since 2020, they’ve penned songs for films like Blumhouse’s Adopt a Highway, Netflix’s award-winning rom-com The Half of It, and the full score for the indie feature Going Nowhere. “There’s commonly a void between songs, score and sound design,” notes Rupert. “We wanted to take some steps toward merging them with this album.”
To further immerse the audience in their romantic and haunting vision, Ruen Brothers have created noir-esque imagery inspired by mid-century films like The Night of the Hunter including the cover art featuring a blood red crescent moon above a cactus and eagle - an ode to Rupert’s dusky evening strolls through Moon Canyon in Los Angeles. And the all-black styling seen throughout the campaign’s photos was influenced by both westerns and their year-long residency performing at New York’s McKittrick Hotel, home of famed Off-Broadway show Sleep No More.
Rupert and Henry first learned to play music from their dad’s vintage record collection which included the likes of Charlie Feathers, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Chuck Berry and the Everly Brothers. By their early teens, they were performing in the smoke-laced working mens pubs where local farmers and steel workers would drunkenly dance, often fight, and usually call out to hear old-timey American hits. It was this older-than-their-years childhood where the pair honed the decisiveness and professionalism that streamlined their album’s creative journey. “If it didn’t work, we wouldn't keep it. We weren’t precious about ideas, each song and idea was simply, ‘do we like it or not,’ similarly to how the pub-goers would judge us on stage,” tells Rupert.