Thursday, November 11, 2010

RULES - The Whitest Boy Alive (2009)

Offering up a polite white disco/funk reminiscent of 70s acts Steely Dan or the Average White Band...but with a decidedly chiller contemporary spin...Rules is an album that lives up to its name, adamantly sticking to a rigidly defined sound. 

Lucky for the band, it's a great one. 

Comprised of Marcin Oz and Sebastian Maschat's funky rhythm section, Daniel Nentwis' engaging, beyond bright electric piano, and band leader Erlend Oye's jazz lounge guitar and laid-back vocals, it's a mellow yet propulsive sound that will appeal to just about anyone.

Unfortunately, the band's commitment to rules also carries forward into their songwriting, and it's here that Rules takes a serious nose dive.

This is quite possibly the safest, least daring album I've heard in the last two years.

If Jack Johnson or Ray LaMontagne made a disco album, this would be it. 

At no point does the band remotely challenge itself or the audience.  Granted, I know edginess is not what they're going for here, but the utter lack of edge nonetheless leads to an album with mostly forgettable songs.

A few tracks do emerge above the sweet-disco din of mediocrity.  The album is bookended well with a fine opener in Keep a Secret and a strong closing jam in Island, and the tracks Courage and Gravity add rare moments of emotional urgency, but otherwise, listening to this is like watching an NBA All-Star playing in a preseason game - you know he's capable of great things, but you also know, for now, that he's just going to go through the motions.

So a very mixed review the sound, hate the effort...but in the end, the sound alone is engaging enough to give Rules a modest bump.

Status: Mild Recommend.

Cherry Picker's Best Bets: Keep A Secret, Courage, Gravity, Island.

Here's a youtube link for Keep A Secret.

Component Breakdown:

2. Intentions - 6
3. Courage - 7
4. Timebomb - 5
7. 1517 - 6
8. Gravity - 8
10. Dead End - 7
11. Island - 8
Intanglibles - Average to High.

To Listen, Download, or Buy a CD or Vinyl Hardcopy,
Click on the Widget Below.

No comments: