Ruth's Refrigerator was a short-lived collaboration between Leicester, England-based neo-psychedelic guitarist/songwriter Alan Jenkins (formerly of the Deep Freeze Mice and the Chrysanthemums) and the British indie pop band Po! (not to be confused with American alt-rockers P'o). The members were Jenkins, namesake singer/guitarist Ruth Miller, keyboardist Blodwyn P. Teabag (whom Jenkins later married), bassist Terri Lowe, and drummer Robyn Gibson. Ruth's Refrigerator released two fine albums' worth of jangly psych-pop, 1990s Suddenly a Disfigured Head Parachuted and 1991's A Lizard Is a Submarine on Grass, but was never meant to be a full-time project. Miller and Lowe returned to Po!, and Jenkins, Teabag, and Gibson went on to form the Creams.
The first of the two Ruth's Refrigerator albums is the stronger of the pair. Ruth Miller's artless (and occasionally pitch-poor) vocals are quintessential early-'90s British indie pop, and they fit the rough-edged (but never quite sloppy) songs perfectly. The songs, mostly by guitarist Alan Jenkins but with contributions from all five members and one cover, a shambling take on the Zombies' "She's Not There," are psychedelia-tinged guitar pop with occasional glimpses at something stranger, like the impenetrable "Gro Haarlem Bruntland Wants Some Fish" and the minute-long instrumental fragment "Examine the Insects and Hit Them." It occasionally seems a bit too deliberately oblique, and there are a few moments of self-indulgence, like the lengthy psychedelic jam that takes up most of the seven-and-a-half-minute "Fish in the Air/Birds in the Sea," but even that song has a memorable melody and some smile-inducing lyrics. Very nice stuff, if slightly twee British indie pop is your taste. The CD edition adds five tracks, including alternate takes of the album's two best songs, "The Red Queen" and "Hello Anne of Green Poplars," and a Bevis Frond-like psychedelic rave-up, "I Am Big Chief Luxembourg." (AMG)