The genres and influences are boundless on The Ringflowers new full-length album, Money for Music. Leaning heavily on throwback sounds, the album incorporates elements ranging from funk-laced guitar, Latin American influences and bent note Blues facets. The genre bending is so rife through the tracks; the only place you’re going to find this one in your local record store will be in the “Other” or “Misc.” piles. The benefit of this naturally, is most listeners are going to find veins running through the album that will appeal to their particular likings.
“Easy Touch” opens the album with electric strums and occasional saxophone honks, from the opening notes it seems like an amicable blend of Paul Simon guitar stylings mixed with David Matthews-esque horn work. The gruff vocal delivery adds an organic element to the lyrical matter while the musicality waxes and wanes from easy listening leanings to throwback groove melody. “Samba Girl” is the first track to belie the band’s roots in the British Virgin Islands with its swingy Tropicalia feel. The slight backing percussion and strum guitar work add a Latin swagger to the track. Wah guitar and Nuevo Jazz style sax are the opening hallmarks of the wildly esoteric “Mr. Hitler.” The lyrical matter and vocal delivery is perhaps the strangest facet of this one with its sing-songy chorus and spoken word-meets-Rap verses. “Secret Angel on the Phone” features Bluesy guitar work and intermittent sax work with the verse vocal delivery vaguely reminiscent of a Tom Waits’ track. It is worth note the range of vocal work from gruff and grizzly to soaring and clear. The midpoint electric solo is dripping with Blues riff work. “World Blues” contains soaring harmonica work and more Blues-laden guitar but from a melody standpoint this could easily have been a B-side to any Talking Heads album. The agro pace melded with the bent-note work make this one a strange, but appealing meld of styles. “Peder’s Raptor” again follows a Talking Heads vein as the vocals and guitar riff work channel David Byrne with perhaps a healthy dose of The Clash. The emergence of flute work in the interim between verses highlights the vast instrumentation at the band’s disposal. “Calivero” sees the return of Simon-esque guitar strums with more Latin influence splashed about. Percussion dominates this one with frequent fills and near entire solos throughout.
Again, this one is all over the place. There are so many elements of so many genres that even the above is only a small featurette on everything that is on place here. Also worth noting is that this album is a monster weighing in at 18-tracks adding to the ethos of this being a “big” album in genre, instrumentation and musicality. While the copy of the tracks was rough (I was told it would be) I am incredibly interested to hear what this behemoth of and album sounds like once the engineer’s touch has been run through and they emerge in their pristine form.
Christopher West – firstname.lastname@example.org