Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Album Review - Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics -It's About Time

 Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics
It’s About Time
**** out of *****

Wielding that mid 60’s-70’s soul/funk sword like experts Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics cut through the pre-programmed nonsense that passes itself off as R&B in 2012. The Atlanta based band continues down the retro-soul path that Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings popularized last decade and if their debut album It’s About Time is any indication the group will quickly become stars in the genre and hopefully beyond.

 “My Dear” kicks things off with confidence, strutting out of the gate and building to a cinematic chorus recalling Marvin Gaye.  The band is happy to go up tempo when they get the snare and baritone sax pumping for “Medicine Spoon” which cooks over organs, horn pops and Ruby’s relationship deadline lyrics.  Equally adept when they slow the tempo down the band gets sultry with “The Agenda” displaying gorgeous musical arrangements and vocals.           

What stands out the most is the balanced nature of this band; this genre seems to have multiple acts with dominating frontmen/women and weak supporting bands, or whip crack musicians fronting less than engaging singers/lyricists.  Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics seem to be on equal terms all around; the vocals never override the tunes and the music never distracts from Ruby’s performance. 

It’s About Time isn’t perfect, “The Man Says” is a bit stagnant and the title track “It’s About TIme” sticks around too long without really saying all that much lyrically or musically closing things on a weaker note.  Those critiques mean little however when compared to the rest of this fantastic debut disk. “Soul Of The Earth” is an adventurous funky excursion that gets the party started before coming back to earth then soaring high again all in 5 minutes while “Looking For A Better Thing” has a light and airy Jackson 5 vibe that delights. 

“Mr. Wrong” tosses the sound back even further with its swinging 50’s feeling that makes you crave a milkshake from a counter before “Longview” plants us firmly in the present with its lounge hip-hop beats and champagne smooth red velvet feel.  Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics have simply nailed it with their debut album It’s About Time, don’t waste any time, dig in today.  

This review was originally written to be posted on Glide, but it hasn't gone up yet and after re-listening to the album this past weekend, I felt it needed to go somewhere soon or be lost amongst the weeds so we will slap it with our overflow reviews.  Last year we came across JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound and were pleased that the retro soul vibe was going on as strong as ever.  Ruby Velle and The Soulphonics even up the ante a bit with the debut release, this group has tons of potential.

Give them a peek in the videos below for a taste, grab the album here and support them live here
"My Dear"

Live from 2010

"Heartlite" an older tune:

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