Thursday, July 9, 1998

Rubydiver CD Review by Holly Watson

Ruby Diver's debut album mixes exciting generational sounds


By Holly Watson, On-line Forty-Niner
July 9,1998

"In Long Beach, there's a place you can go where you'll never want to come down," and local-sensation band, Ruby Diver, can take one there - via its dynamo debut album, "Super Remote."

"Super Remote," is delicious groove-rock confection dripping with brilliant melodies and lyrics and topped with smoothly-whipped vocals and instru-mentals.

The album's tightly-stacked tracks mingle grooving sixties and seventies freedom-band sounds with nineties tech-notronic-alterna-rock edges.

The melodies are hip and exciting and the lyrics are focused and intelligent. Moreover, musically and vocally, "Super Remote" is extremely well-executed.

Between Miss Paula Helek-unihi Duke's cooing voice, Cal State Long Beach English Department graduate, Erik Hanson's energy-packed guitar, Todd Sanders' grooving bass and Greg Jamison's jamming drums, "Super Remote" pleases and teases, providing mood elevation, dance inspiration and energetic ambiance.

Track one, "Supernatural" rocks from the go, featuring vocalist, Duke, "scatting," as she calls it, tricky phrases to a techno-aided groove-rock melody. The song has a Jefferson Starship feel in which Duke even sounds like Grace Slick.

Track two, "Mission to Mars," envelops a sinewy, soul-tingling approach, easing in seductively with soft, almost lullaby-vocals from Duke. The lyrics are lilting mind-teasers hinting at space travel and sexual eroticism; the melody is deep and appealing.

Track three, "Superstar Black" begins with the "In Long Beach" lyrics, written by Hanson. It is a local color song that streamlines from a smooth taunt into an energy-rush. Easily the most up-beat song on the album, it is packed with crisp phrasing such as "Everything in gravity grows" and "Tonight I'm flowing deeper on the inside."

Track four, "Drinkin'," features a catchy drum lead followed by an inviting bass jam and guitar session before Duke's voice takes flight into a Mama Cass sounding coo, "Now you got me drinkin' everything in sight," followed by "gonna find me a place; gonna make you all mine."

Track five, "Broken String" features an entire song full of Duke's scatting. Here, intelligent, saucy phrasing drives the song into a Latin groove. Partners on guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and drum machine sway in sultry samba style as well.

Track six, "Big Light Grinner," a lyrical stand-out, showcases mighty fast lip-work by Duke. Her vocal tone and texture sound a bit Alannis Morrissette-like here, albeit with quicker phrasing.

Track seven "Super Remote Control" features the clever line,

"Bring me inner vision just like Stevie Wonder," highlighting a pretty showy flute solo and a creative melody.

Track nine, "Mission to Mars (Station MIR Mix)" is a groovier, more technologically-aided version of track two, emitting an out-of-this world dance club feel, equipped with warbling, mysterious voices backing the vocals. This track has received airplay on Y107 recently.

Overall, Ruby Diver's sound on "Super Remote" is rocking enough - to energize one all day and grooving enough - to keep one swaying all night. The album, released on the TurfTone label under executive production and management of Long Beach native, Kurt Hoffman - is available at Tower Records on PCH in Long Beach and Fingerprints on 2nd Street in Belmont Shore.

Additionally, Ruby Diver, which has already played such venues as Los Angeles' The Mint, The Dragonfly, Luna Park, Martini Lounge, and The Gig, Long Beach's Blue Cafe and the Foothill, Orange County's Glasshouse and San Diego's Belly-Up Tavern and opened for Common Sense, Reel Big Fish, Ozomatli and the Untouchables - boasts a few upcoming venues.

This month the band returns to the The Mint in Los Angeles, July 9 and 16, 1998 at 10 p.m. and performs at Hollywood Park, July 10 and 17, 1998 at 10 p.m.

For more information, one may visit


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