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This one is pure indulgence. Sit back, get comfortable, and enjoy Short-Staffed at the Gene Pool. Ruby is the moniker adopted by vocalist Lesley Rankine (of grrl-power Silverfish fame) and producer Mark Walk (Pigface, Skinny Puppy). The duo offers pop vocals with a twist: steady insistence on the groove. Rather than sticking to a certain style, Ruby summons the total packagefrom straight-up rock to disco/lounge, from tricky funk to Latin grooves. Rankine, whose voice is seductively smooth, spans the range from throaty swing to crisp vocal percussion. Her approach is like rap soaked in honey: the chant and the saunter issue forth wrapped up in layers of twist and twirl. (Did someone say trip hop?)
The indulgence part comes from Ruby's self-conscious obsession with the hook. Pop needs its standard bearers, especially when it thumbs its nose at so-called "art." And Ruby does not fall short at all in the craft department. It's the kind of music one doesn't have to suffer to enjoyand I'll admit I enjoy the other kind, too. If you take a moment to absorb the lyrics, you'll discover some strikingly intense, honest, and visceral poetics. Ruby's words on the subject, from "Lamplight":
"If I bear my fruit, and invite the world to see If I bear my fruit, would you tear it from my tree..."
In this reviewer's opinion, Short-Staffed at the Gene Pool is ripe for the picking.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.