CD REVIEW: Jack Ruby - Informal Moronic
By Francesco Emmanuel - 09/26/2005 - 11:59 PM EDT
Artist: Jack Ruby
Album: Informal Moronic
This rock-reggae trio hails from Minneapolis and play their own smooth version of ska, blues, jazz and funk. Informal Moronic is Jack Ruby’s follow-up to their 2003 debut, Jack Ruby: EP
The album begins with the guitar, pumping on that wah effect and repeating a riff that makes you wanna bop your head, the bass follows note for note. Lead singer/guitarist Nicholson Kenny begins crooning in a rather bluesy voice. That is the first thing that struck me listening here, the fact that Kenny sounds natural, not like someone trying really hard to ‘sing’ reggae. So many artists nowadays want to affiliate themselves with the heartland of reggae that they forget to just
The next good thing is, it’s not just a rock-reggae record, there’s elements of blues, jazz, funk and rock ‘n’ roll. Tracks like ‘So Surreal’ and ‘Strange World’ lay on the roots, rock, reggae groves thick. Then there’s the almost progressive/funk rock ‘Well Adjusted’ which closes Informal, always good to finish with a kick, leave the listener wanting more.
The sound of the guitar is monumental here, the thin, dry and dirty tone of that fender strat (at least, it sounds like a strat to me, but I may be wrong) rings through the record, gives the music a good punch, and defines the band as not just another ‘ska group’. Kenny’s tasteful solo playing adds just enough texture and variety to take songs along their musical journey.
This is one tight, bare-bones three-piece unit, with some solid grooves - throughout the record the bass and drums really gel great together. These guys have taken an old formula, muddied it up a little bit, fused it with the blues, and created some fine tunes here.
Inasmuch as I prefer ‘old school reggae’ I was thoroughly impressed with the skanking ideals of Jack Ruby and their Informal Moronic.
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