Ruby Topaz: Rabbit Hole
(Independent / 9 November 2022)
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Imaginative rock with classic edges is what you'll find on this release by veteran musician Ruby Topaz.
It's rock with an orchestral sensibility and even operatic flair. The arrangements pique, the ear with layers of inventive orchestration, offering something new with every track. Rabbit Hole will remind you of the Beatles with its sitar-like opening, and Dream Running uses atmospheric electronics to cast an ethereal mood.
There are 16 tracks on the release, and the duo don't repeat themselves when it comes to mood or tone. You're Still Running is a straight up rocker, just to prove they can.
Vocalist Mark Bram has a distinctive sound with a nice range and melodic style, and the songs showcase his strengths. His style inspired by Robert Plant and similar artists, but he manages to make the sound his own.
Bram also plays a mean lead guitar (along with guitar synth and keyboards, as well as bass and drums on some of the songs) with a nice ear for licks that complement the song.
Schizophrenic Law is a standout track, with a slowed down rhythm that's sexy and sinuous. He slows it down again, this time to a country rock mode in Come Back To Me, then with a jazzy swing to Your Love. He's an accomplished songwriter with a judicious sense of editing - it's never too much.
Classic rock never really died; it just entered the modern era with practitioners like Ruby Topaz.