Album Review

Ruby Topaz – ‘Mark Bram / Ruby Topaz Again 23rd Anniversary Remaster’ [Album Review]

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Ruby Topaz ‘Mark Bram / Ruby Topaz Again 23rd Anniversary Remaster’ album artwork

Progressive glam rock outfit Ruby Topaz, the project of Mark Bram, recently dropped an anniversary album, Mark Bram / Ruby Topaz Again 23rd Anniversary Remaster, which spans the almost 40-year history of the band. The album follows on the heels of last year’s Rabbit Hole.

Talking about Ruby Topaz’s sound, guitarist/vocalist 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.”

Ruby Topaz performed their progressive brand of glam rock in Rhode Island as well as at CBGB, Gildersleeves, and L’Amour’s in New York. Bram co-wrote “A Piece of Our Hearts’” with Al Gomes of BIGNOISE RECORDS for Rhode Island Bandwagon, a project to feed the homeless in Rhode Island.

Of the 14 tracks on the album, highlights include “Want You Now,” featuring retro-flavored guitars harking back to early Rush. Bram’s high vocals summon up memories of Geddy Lee’s distinctive voice, imbuing the lyrics with piercing tones and palpable passion.

The Sack,” a swaying blues rock number, oozes sad colors of heartache. Bram’s vocals emanate the tight, rasping textures of Janis Joplin, drenching the lyrics in deliciously nasty textures. Following its Beatle-like intro, “Change of Face” shifts into a dramatic glam rocker. A dazzling guitar solo allows Bram to strut his talent on the instrument.

Ruby Topaz’s Mark Bram with guitars

For some reason, “Knife in My Back” conjures up suggestions of AC/DC – heavy guitars snarling and thunderous percussion, followed by a scorching guitar solo. On this track, Bram’s voice takes on tones of Robert Plant crossed with Steve Marriott.

“Getting to the Point” is a personal favorite because of its blend of Queen-like savors with lustrous Beatles-like vocals.

Stylistically diverse, Ruby Topaz Again 23rd Anniversary Remaster shows what can be accomplished without digital manipulation. Good stuff.

Mark Bram / Ruby Topaz Again 23rd Anniversary Remaster Track Listing:

1. Want You Now
2. Lookin 4 U
3. The Sack
4. Forever Near
5. Unicorn Song Ver 4.0
6. Change Of Face
7. Sandy
8. This Town
9. Lose Me
10. Knife In My Back
11. Loneliness
12. Far, Far Away
13. Getting to the Point
14. Temptation Eyes/ 26 or 6 to 4

Run Time: 70:00
Release Date: May 3, 2024
Record Label: Independent

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