A version of this article is published in the August 2010 issue of the Groove.
Gesundheit. Kingston Rudieska has done it again – and not just in the musical sense. Their second full-length album features their trademark style of ska – frentic at times and chilled at others; combining calypso and reggae while remaining the precursor to rockabilly and other forms of modern rock. Having performed at both Pentaport and the Jisan Rock Festival, Kingston Rudieska is in it for the long haul.
That’s not to say that all of Rudieska’s songs fit neatly in a tightly-packaged genre. “Riva City” skews towards the reggae side, while “Double Happiness” is distinctively laid back – not unlike a jazz bar winding down for the night. The nine-piece band’s harmony fuses other Latin American rhythms quite nicely in 선 (Seon, or “Line”), and picks up the energy in “Giant Moment” and the title track (one of the few tracks to feature more than a few words of English). The variety is one element that makes Kingston Rudieska so interesting to listen to – whether you buy the CD or see them live.
While the vocals are understated in most songs, it’s understandable considering the talent blowing, plucking, or banging their instruments. The ample time dedicated to the many solos is a reminder of their talent – not that you needed one by the end of the CD.
The album is worth the purchase, if only for the whimsical cover art. Since I don’t have 1,000 words to describe the pretty pictures, let’s say they’re colorful and wonderfully reminiscent of Jamaica (where ska arguably got its start in the city of Kingston), and much like some forms of African art.
The production is excellent, as most albums are these days. My only complaint is the relative lack of English lyrics – the title track has the most English, although it would take time to incorporate some more English lyrics into future songs. Enjoy any chance you have to see the band live, or pick up the CD to enjoy their music anytime.
For more information, check out the band’s website at http://www.kingstonrudieska.com/.
Disclosure: Chris in South Korea received a free copy of the CD for reviewing purposes.
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