A long long time ago, before the unspeakably disappointing band/album “The Good, The Bad, and The Queen” there was a very interesting, albeit extremely mainstream, hip hop/trancey band called The Gorillaz. I’m sure you remember them. Well, if you were a fan, you might want to check out Ruby Lament.
Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Matt Ruby (vox, keys, guitar, bass, beats) and Matt Lament (guitar, keys, beats, sampler, backing vox) make, in their own words, “dark, dirty, and dancey” music that falls somewhere in the space occupied by Gary Numan and Brian Eno and, yes, The Gorillaz. Only grimier–less slick, less top 40, less club ready.
The album is a little hit or miss—there’s some tracks that just don’t work—but others show real potential. These two Matts did everything themselves on this release, and cuts like “Hollow Body Soul” show real potential, and made me wonder what they’d sound like in the hands of an experienced producer. Take, for example, the fascinating cover of “The Drugs Don’t Work” by The Verve. There’s enough of the original here that the source material is obvious, but Mr. Ruby’s vocals add a rougher quality that augment the desperate lyrics. Definitely the best track on the record. They also do a fun cover of “So Alive” (Love and Rockets), and the icing on the cake is “Nuclear Night,” an 8+ minute crawl through a jungle of Gorillaz-like beats and blips—you know, a kind of raw, electronica blues anthem with Verve-style vocals. I tend to shy away from songs that hit the five-minute mark, but this one is worth hanging on. By about halfway through, I
found myself entranced.
Check out these standout tracks, or download the whole thing, free and legal, as a zip file!
Hollow Body Soul
So Alive (Love and Rockets cover)
The Drugs Don’t Work (Verve cover)