Monday, February 8, 1999

A&A CD Review by John Worley

reviewed in issue #176, 2/8/99

I recently was a judge in the IDN 1998 contest. This was my favorite album of the bunch (I had previously reviewed a couple of the other good ones, and the Radio Free America is another good one). Pulling the sword from the Family Stone, Rubydiver kicks out funky, soulful jams. And like the Sly man, each groove undulates into another. Bass into snare into bass drum into cymbal into guitar into bass...

This is how you do it. Topping off the fine music is Miss Paula Helekunuhi Duke, whose vocals are easily some of the finest I've heard. Period. She can go from slinky to brick in two seconds, and you'd swear she never changed. The trippy, highly stylized lyrics fit right into the concept. The total package.

The songs just roll off like candy. I mean, these folks have figured out how to make the funk really funky. They made sure there was plenty of soul to go along with the syncopated snare. If it was as easy as it sounds here, there wouldn't be so many dreadful funk bands.

Rubydiver is a gem. This is one of the few bands I would really like to see live. I have to see the spectacle. A truly energizing album.

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