Mat Kerekes is best-known for fronting the Toledo alternative-rock band, Citizen. But his newest solo release highlights some of Kerekes’ best tracks he’s ever written. For the alt-rock musician, an indie/folk album in 2019 might seem a tad far-fetched, but it totally worksRuby is the brainchild of Mat Kerekes’ biggest influences, some of which being Queen.

“Spider Silk” really glorifies the height of his Queen influence, it might as well have been written by Freddie Mercury himself. And with the line, “I still dream of you / but you just don’t care,” it throws itself back afar. A lot of these tracks are emotional piano ballads, with “Autumn Dress” and “One For the Wildflowers” being among the best. “It has been a long-haul, with no one there to cheer you on” opens “Hawthorne,” arguably the album’s best track. It’s on this cut where the album really climaxes between an emotional Kerekes, and the record’s finest vocal melodies.

On closer “An Ode,” Kerekes packages his emotions and ships them out in nostalgia: “Do you ever miss it? The things you loved when you were a kid? Your parents love that spread too thin?” Perhaps some of the heaviest lyrics and messages lie within the transcripts of Ruby. It’s an album that will pleasure just as it will terrify and tear. On Ruby, Kerekes is honest, transparent, reflective, and perfectly himself. Great job, Mat.

Ruby is out this Friday, April 19th, and you can pre-order it here.