Ruskabank - "This Took Some
"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it has been replaced by "Mission" (a cover of the Mission: Impossible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
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
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?