Ritt Momney grows through loss and change with ‘Her and All of My Friends’

Ritt Momney started as a five-piece band. Five high-school friends from Salt Lake City whose summers were filled playing live shows together, learning from naive mistakes, coping with high-school struggle. Their first record “Young Adult” is a poignant outlook on growing after high school while their following record finds the band exploring their colours, wanting to be a “Theatre Kid”, and learning to find love (“Probably!”) through the vibrancy and fullness of five-part indie rock writing. The band went through some of their most developmental moments together. But within a year, Ritt Momney became a solo project.

Her and All of My Friends finds bandleader Jack Rutter coping with ideas of loss, loneliness, and identity, a result from his friends leaving for Mormon missions and his girlfriend for college. Rutter’s lyrics are appealing in ways that relate to anyone who’s experienced a breakup: he navigates the turbulence of trying to reassure himself that things will be okay (“Lew’s Lullaby”); questions the very idea of love (“On Love”); becomes defensive against the person he loved: “She’s not my friend / She never was” (“Command V”); and succumbs to emotional and creative stagnation (“Something, In General”). The first half of the album, like the first few months after experiencing loss, is immersed in bleak and vulnerable writing, with the band’s indie-rock sound now tinged with tender acoustic moments.

Other times, Rutter finds distraction in fleeting moments of joy, like the light he sees in “Phoebe” (a girl he briefly dated) or the upbeat guitar instrumental of “II”. They’re the necessary moments of musical escape and equally moments of vulnerability. Though in “(If) the Book Doesn’t Sell”, we find Rutter at his most vulnerable. Detailing the four years of his growing disconnect from religion, “(If) the Book Doesn’t Sell” expresses an anxiety-inducing writing process that finds Rutter obscuring his deepest feelings with heavily distorted vocals. It’s Rutter’s writing at his strongest, embedded in imagery, honesty, and personal experience.

In its instrumental writing, Her and All of My Friends often feels erratic but perhaps necessary. Electronically warped guitar and piano features fluctuate in mood much like the emotional instability embedded in the lyrics. There are songs whose instrumentation changes mid-way through (“Paper News”), songs whose inherently melancholic lyrics contradict the upbeat mood of its musical accompaniment (“On Love”), and others whose stream-of-consciousness lyrics go into emotional tangents with accompaniment left bare (“Pollution / Disclaimer”), suggesting that much of Rutter’s energy went into the lyrics. “Production is definitely one of my weaker points musically,” he admits, “[but] it’ll always be my favorite part of the process.”

It took two years to complete the album. Her and All My Friends carries the weight of learning to be okay with loss and adapting to change – the time after high school where people learn to grow. Tracks that once started bleak present opportunities to learn from (“Pollution / Disclaimer”), and “Something, In General” which was once driven by a motive for Rutter to get his girlfriend back became an incentive to work on his musical career. Her and All of My Friends can at times sound lethargic, but it’s the closure Rutter needed to move on. And while it may not have a happy ending, it’s a realistic one. “Speaking of the friends I’d like to thank you for the good times,” he concludes in “III”, “And speaking of the her I’d like to thank you for the songs.”

Favourite Tracks: Something In General, Command V, (If) the Book Doesn’t Sell

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