Ruskabank - "This Took Some Time"
Independent Release

"Ruskabank is here to make the beat sound so sweet..."

This is the party album of the year. If you put this on, and people just stand around -  there's something wrong with their legs. As I was writing this review, I had to get up every so often and skank around my room. It’s just that infectious.

So, yes indeed, this is a very danceable album. This Took Some Time has some of the most catchy hooks that ska has ever seen. This is partially because Ruskabank's inspirations owe as much to '50s soul and R&B as they do to the Skatalites. This Took Some Time is definitely a ska album... but don’t pigeonhole this disc until you've given it a good listen.

“This Took Some Time” starts off incredibly strong with “We Dancin’” and powers up from there. “Feel” is a superb love song. “My Friends” deserves a place with H2O’s “Family Tree” and Operation Ivy’s “Unity” as one of the best friendship songs of the past ten years.

I’d go through and let you know what each track has to offer, but that’d take far more space than I happen to have. Just take it at face value that each track has something special to offer.

The selection of songs on this album is tight. This Took Some Time is an amazing representation of Ruskabank’s live show - as the back cover art so cleverly hints at. The track list is depicted as a set list from a live show, which is almost believable - except for one glaring exception: "You Don't Even Hear Me, Though" is missing - a staple that has been in every live show I've ever seen Ruskabank play. Instead, on the album, it has been replaced by "Mission" (a cover of the Mission: Impossible theme). While "Mission" is an excellent tune, “You Don’t Even Hear Me, Though” is probably one of the band’s best songs, dealing with communication problems with your loved one. It also would have better complimented the lovey sounds of “Feel.”

As far as the sound mix - pretty good. Dave Spiker’s voice sounds great, and the keyboard comes through nice and loud, which I was happy to hear, since it often gets drowned-out in the live mix. The only complaint I had with the mixing was that the horns sounded a bit muted on the chorus of “Hothead.” Other than that, the CD came through as really vibrant. It’s a definitely a worthwhile album to go out and purchase.

I’m really happy to see that the bands from the local ska scene are starting to put out some product. For far too long, there hasn’t really been anything new out of this area in the term of ska albums, not since the Gadjits’ last release. Now, adding This Took Some Time to a list including The Ray-Guns' debut, a new Gadjits release due out in February of '99, a new compilation on the new Booya!! Records label due out in '99, and an album in the works by Phat Albert, the local ska scene looks to be doing fine, despite the saddening loss of The Norman 360.

This Took Some Time can be purchased directly from the band at shows or via their website, or at other fine supporters of local music like: Streetside Records, Hastings and Love Garden.

Go buy this album. Just remember that if you're going to listen to it in public, you shouldn't use headphones. You don't wanna' be the only fool dancin, do you?