With the first echoing “AY-O,” Hey Elbow’s song “Ruth” is instantly recognizable. It’s probably not familiar because you’ve already heard the track, since Hey Elbow hail from Sweden and have made a very small footprint in the States so far. Instead, the opening moment is nostalgic because it so easily recalls Harry Belafonte’s “Banana Boat Song,” a reworking of a traditional Jamaican work song with its distinct call-and-response “Day-o, Day-o/ Daylight come and me wan’ go home.” (For better or worse, there’s also this extremely catchy Chris Brown and Tyga song.) Hey Elbow can easily be cross-referenced with bands like Blonde Redhead, or Deerhoof, but “Ruth” boasts the kind of maddeningly catchy introduction that owes itself to historical greats and modern chart titans. “Ruth” will be released on the band’s forthcoming debut album, Every Other, which is due out in April. Watch an artfully edited video of Hey Elbow performing the song below.
Every Other is out 4/14 via Adrian Recordings.