niedziela, 19 stycznia 2014

Rude Boy George - Take On EP

What will happen when a group of Jamaican music fans meets, fans who don’t utterly condemn the music which glory days are definitely over and we talk about the late 70’s and early 80’s, when new romantic was triumphant? Then, dear readers, a creature begins to exist: Rude Boy George (the other option was Flock of Scooters). The similarity to the pseudonym of the Culture Club vocalist is not accidental, as this gentleman, known for the hit singles such as "Karma Chameleon" and "Do you really want to hurt me", is a new romantic icon.

The band Rude Boy George was set up in January 2013 in NY by the musicians who got their experience in the bands Bigger Thomas and Across The Aisle. The group members are Roger Apollon (voc; Bigger Thomas), Megg Howe (voc; Across the Aisle), Steve Shafer (melodica, backup voc), Jim Cooper (per; Bigger Thomas), Marc Wasserman (bass; Bigger Thomas), Jackie Chasen (sax, backup voc; Across The Aisle), Jesse Gosselin (guit; Across The Aisle/The Royal Swindle) i Jeff Usamanont (guit; FunkFace/Daft Phunk/Electric Company). Earlier in the band there were also Spencer Katzman (guit; Bigger Thomas) and Dave Barry (keyboard; Beat Brigade/The Toasters).

Two of the members are well-known ska bloggers (Marc Wasserman - Marco on The Bass; Steve Shafer - The Duff Guide to Ska).

The band’s debut was on April 13th in Electric Avenue (the event of the bloggers mentioned above) at Manhattan club Characters NYC.

Some movies from the debut gig:

Soft Cell cover

Culture Club cover

Squeeze cover

But before they decided to play concerts, they issued their versions of The Human League hits – “(Keep Feeling) Fascination”, produced by Wayne “Waylo” Lothian (ex-English Beat, General Public, Special Beat). What’s more, they announced the coming out of the six-track EP. I couldn’t wait!

But the summer was gone and nothing happened. The autumn was gone, the winter began. The year ended, and I still didn’t hear from them. Until January 8th, when there was the premiere of  ”Take On” EP. From the initially announced list of six tracks, only three appeared, plus two remixes.

Among these three songs there are The Human League “(Keep Feeling) Fascination”, INXS “Don’t Change” and The Romantics “Talking In Your Sleep” (at the end you’ll find the original versions). They also added the remixes of the last two songs, including one featuring The English Beat toaster. All songs were recorded in May 2013 in West Orange in Bill Laswell’s studio (by the way, listen to his "Dreams of Freedom: Ambient Translations of Bob Marley in Dub" – really good job), produced by “Waylo” Lothian.

If you’re not a musical orthodox and you like musical experiments, “Take On” EP should appeal to you. The members of Rude Boy George perfectly balanced the proportions of Jamaican rhythms they play on daily basis and the music which undoubtedly can be called embarrassing and shameful, though still listened and enjoyed by lots of people, and not only those, who became soaked with new romantic when they were young. Frankly speaking, I initially thought this EP contains too little ska and reggae, but I quickly took to it. Take skilled instrumentalists, add a fine vocalist – Megg Howe from Across the Aisle – some dub here and there, and even the length of tracks (the shortest is almost 4 minutes long) don’t bother you. But beware! Once you listen, you’re likely to listen to it dozens of other times!

Spirit of 80s! 

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