May 29, 2022

Drunken Boat - See Ruby Falls (1992)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Indie Rock
Label Number: 72705 75714-2

© 1992 First Warning Records
An equally fine follow-up to the band's self-titled debut, See Ruby Falls again assayed a sharp take on indie rock/punk fire that was completely obscured in 1992's rampage of commercial grunge. Heard on its own away from all that, it's so ridiculously good that one has to wonder why both band and album didn't get at least a well-respected cult rep. Again produced and musically assisted by Tim Sommer, perhaps his last act of undisputed cool before giving into the VH1/Atlantic Records beast -- Drunken Boat rips and tears through a searing set of edgy, emotional aggression. Todd Colby once again heads up the vocals and the Steve Gross/Todd Serbousek guitar team is intact, but otherwise changes abound. Colby's brother Michael is out on drums in favor of Hadley Kahn; if not quite as perfectly precise as his predecessor, Kahn still shows a good sense of timing and performance that suits the songs well. Bassist Kris Frieden's replacement Glenn Petry, meanwhile, also adds trumpet, piano, and "relaxing Chinese silver ball chimes." Songs this time generally take more of their time -- only one, "Necktie," is anything close to the series of quick, abrupt numbers from earlier. If that feel is gone, though, the group's overall delivery is unchanged, able to also try quieter turns, as on the gentle chime of "Timidity" or the well-titled, semi-sing-song "Shuffle," without losing its nervous edge. Colby's delivery also shows more levels of expression -- a little less frenetic but no less fine as an instrument, his wry imagery and sometimes wounded narratives suiting the material excellently. A real ringer of a cover pops up halfway along -- War's funk classic "Low Rider" -- but Drunken Boat doesn't let up the side with a drone-tinged, moody version, keeping the legendary horn hook for good measure

tags: drunken boat, see ruby falls, 1992, flac,

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