Rise Album reviews.
Release Date: 03.21.02
Record label: Island/Universal
by: clint poole
At a time when reality television shows are turning would-be artists into stars, one band has emerged through the traditional rock-n-roll rites of passage to deliver a solid and refreshing sound. Rubyhorse has endured blood, sweat, and smoky back room venues while honing their music and style, and the result is Rise, an album that captures a lifetime of emotions and dreams that brought this quintet from Cork City Ireland, to Boston, to us.
In the true sense of struggling artists the band set-up shop in the back room of a small Boston Irish Pub called "The Burren," stuck between Harvard, MIT, and Tufts, and began to rock. Listening to Rise one can almost hear the band's evolution from unknown immigrants to local favorites, and how the back room of "The Burren" was transformed from an empty overflow area, into a standing room venue where listeners gathered to hear something special, a well-honed house band they knew wouldn't be playing there much longer.
Aptly titled Rise, the album portrays a tangible sense of growth, expectation, commitment, and drive. A grandiose electronic overture introduces the album and its first track "Happy in the Sunshine", setting the tone that that something special is to follow. In the background we hear a female voice declaring "I am ready", seemingly asking us if we are ready for Rubyhorse. The album moves quickly into the bands current radio song "Sparkle", a light and non-threatening song designed for pop-airplay. Despite its commercial success "Sparkle" lacks the lyrical and musical depth of most of the albums other tracks, but is catchy enough to work for the masses.
True to their roots, Rubyhorse continue the Irish tradition of celebration and story telling through music. The album's lyrics deftly reflect the winding road the band has taken, and we are granted unlimited access to all the emotion, pain, disappointment, and awakenings they endured while working toward their first major-label album. Each track has a unique and inviting sound, from pure pop in "Sparkle", to the psychedelic-esque "The First of the Year".
Complete with a cameo at slide-guitar by Beatle George Harrison on "Punch Drunk," Rise delivers a rich, distinctive sound in an era of mass-produced pop. The rich feeling of electronica wrapped around melody in tracks like "Evergreen", "Teenage Distraction", and "Live Through This" provide a smooth, solid vibe, displaying the bands diverse range, and rounding out a successful album. 23-Jul-2002 6:45 PM