Ruby Topaz Goes Deep on Rabbit Hole
There’s no doubts to be found anywhere on the album Rabbit Hole, which Ruby Topaz dropped at the beginning of November. The trio, comprised of Mark Bram, Steve D’Andrea, and Stephen Fassbender, knows exactly what it’s doing on this 16-track outing, which just so happens to include two bonus joints.
The key question, of course, is just what is the band doing on this piece? Well, how about a little bit of everything. Seriously.
For instance, the gang has the power to bring somnambulating not only to life, but to music on “Dream Running”. One of the few numbers largely devoid of vocals, it’s an experience that sounds like running in one’s dreams. There’s nothing but synths here (well, except for a smattering of electric guitar, perhaps, that chimes in near the end).
Some of them are whirling. Others twirl, punctuate the track, aided by the some of the most unorthodox, panned percussion you’ve heard this side of reality. Trust me, this two minutes and change voyage isn’t easily done, and never so by fools.
However, what the group predominantly does is rock and roll. But, before you start thinking ‘old bag, where’s the new tricks,’ give this album a complete listen. Or, just jump right into the first track. Either way, you’ll hear the sort of verve that’s demonstrative, well-planned and, in more than one spot, outright inspirational.
“Rabbit Hole”, the aforementioned leadoff, is imbued with something that sounds suspiciously like a sitar, heady electric guitars, and the distinguishable thump of electric bass (courtesy of Fassbender). The pace is rousing. The singing, extraordinary. There’s harmony on the vocals and plenty of breakdowns—in mid-verse—in which there’s a repetition of kicks and the bass urging it on. Most of all, they go at it for damn near 7 minutes. Again, this is not something that novices, nor even just any accomplished musicians, are capable of doing.
Other cuts, such as “Be My Love” are sheer in their pop appeal, as transparent as can be, but none the less effective, if not all the more so because of such ambition. The bass definitely takes the lead on this one with a swift, crisp pace. The melodies are sumptuous on the vocals, and the hook, comprised of maybe three or four words and a shift in key of the music, is the real issue at hand.
Not anyone can do so such music. But those who can, do… on this project.