If you’re not yet familiar with Hugh Ruiz, you simply should be. From sunny Barcelona to Sheffield’s countryside, he has undergone one hell of a career, playing in a number of acclaimed bands, and gaining an impressive wealth of musical expertise. His focus now lies on the thrilling solo project Ruiz!.

The lockdown of 2020 was a critical time for all. While many of us spent it dilly-dallying, wondering what state the world would be left in, Ruiz! harnessed his isolation and began creating what would become his second solo album.


Bedswervers And Dilettantes is a curious collection of works. Inspired by an eclectic bunch of Ruiz’s favourite artists, its 13 diverse tracks echo everyone from Beastie Boys to Kraftwerk.

It begins with the mysterious, slightly psychedelic tune The Boss, which seemingly changes with each listen. The instrumentation rises and falls throughout an engaging structure while the guitars vend lots of clangy hooks. This opening track offers an underground 90s feel – think Sonic Youth in their prime – setting a distinctive tone for the album.

Subsequent tracks Always Dreaming, Love is Blind and You continue to push this sound, evolving with electronic flourishes and charming lyrical content about modern life and love. Despite the worldly context of these songs, they harbour an endearing sense of optimism that acts as a refreshing contrast to many other lockdown productions.

However, Bedswervers And Dilettantes is not a one-note album as we see some of Ruiz! edgier electronic influences seep in.

One Rule, one of the album’s strongest tracks, boasts a whole world of atmosphere with rolling drums to complement an anchoring bassline and dark, minor guitars. Laser-like synths shoot around in the background as Ruiz chants effect-laden lyrics: is it one rule for us and not for you?/the best day of your life was your first. The structure of this tune is less consistent, but that doesn’t dampen its impact.

As the album comes to a close, Ruiz! pulls everything together for the final track The Human Touch. A culmination of Bedswervers And Dilettantes’s themes, the song emanates mystery through harmonious vocal layers floating in a sea of reverberating instrumentals. It’s a stunning finish to the peaks and toughs of the album’s journey.

To summarise, Bedswervers And Dilettantes is a very strong offering from Ruiz!. His ability to tastefully portray themes really lends itself to the songwriting, all while being delivered in a sonically pleasing package.

Bedswervers And Dilettantes is available now on all streaming platforms.