Tel Aviv is useless, apparently. Israel’s indie queen Hila Ruach has deemed it so, and she makes a very compelling argument with her aptly named single “Tel Aviv is Useless”. With two successful solo albums behind her, it seems her first move in Europe is to tell us a little about where she’s from.
If the title seems a little ham-fisted, that’s probably because it is. But a quick look at Ruach’s back catalogue will reveal similarly unsubtle song titles like “Advert Music” and “Ice Cream”, earning her points for consistency as far as we’re concerned. It’s a perfect punk energy to bring to some very real feelings that the artist explores through humorous lyrics about spaceships, demons and club sandwiches. To hear her sing so apathetically about dates with the devil is pure rock’n’roll, and the diversity and attitude of the vocal performance backs it up one hundred and ten percent.
The music is raw but cleverly crafted
Each section brings something new to the table, including cheap delay-heavy guitar, cheesy organ and an angsty double time section at the end. These changes aren’t exactly subtle, but that’s precisely why it works. The band never seem to run out of ideas, and it gives the song a feeling of limitless energy. A favourite trick of the band seems to be the infamous tritone interval, also a favourite of artists like PJ Harvey and Queens of the Stone Age. The reason I bring it up is because this has been known in classical circles as “the devils interval” for hundreds of years. I’m not sure if the band know that, but it strikes me as something they’d embrace if they did.
Bands like Black Honey and Dream Wife are tapping into similar vibes in the UK, but it’s refreshing to hear from someone with a different perspective.
It seems that Hila Ruach has a lot to say, but with full respect to an audience that wants to have a good time. The music is a rich mixture of garage, punk and pop. Bands like Black Honey and Dream Wife are tapping into similar vibes in the UK, but it’s refreshing to hear from someone with a different perspective. We all have something to be angry about, but not everyone is able to express it as articulately and accessibly as Hila Ruach. If you ever get the chance to travel to Tel Aviv, try it on as a soundtrack.