Rock outfit Ruby Topaz recently dropped their album, Rabbit Hole, a 14-track collection of retro-flavored music.
Talking about Ruby Topaz’s sound, vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Mark Bram shares, “We have the glam and theatrics of Cooper and Bowie, the sophisticated rock of Queen, the power and urgency of early Zeppelin with the melodic prowess of early Beatles.”
Rabbit Hole showcases an old-school approach to musicianship, songwriting, showmanship, and production – real people playing real instruments, innovating in every possible way.
Mark Bram’s trademark high-pitched vocal range, likened by some to Geddy Lee, was inspired by Robert Plant and Freddie Mercury.
Mark explains, “I got the power from Mercury and the highness from Plant.”
Aside from being an astute music fanatic, Mark teaches Tai Chi Chuan. He studied for twelve years with Lee Wah Yook, president of The Eastern United States Kung Fu Federation. Mark also records in his own studio, having gone on a relentless quest to secure as much authentic vintage gear used by artists like The Beatles as possible.
Rabbit Hole begins with the title track, opening on gleaming layers of lysergic guitars, followed by the entry of a tasty rhythm. Drenched in psychedelic textures topped by Mark’s penetrating voice, the tune conjures up suggestions of The Byrds melded with Jimi Hendrix and Rush.
Speaking subjectively, entry points on the album include “You’re Still Running,” featuring potent-rock flavors and hints of early Rush. While “D’s Song (I’m Falling in Love Again)” recalls REO Speedwagon crossed with Led Zeppelin, brimming with heady energy and piercing vocals.
A personal favorite because of its retrospective feel and flow, “Come Back to Me,” reveals the range and allure of Mark’s voice. “How Will I Know,” another gem of a song, pushes out savors of ‘60s pop-rock, highlighted by glittering, almost jangly, guitars and smooth, glowing vocal harmonies reminiscent of The Turtles.
The raw stripped-down textures of “Schizophrenic Law” blends hints of The White Stripes, David Byrne, and Jefferson Airplane into a tight, compelling tune.
Rabbit Hole is excellent, conveying listeners back to the intoxicating sounds of the ‘60s and ‘70s with style and swagger.