Ruder Than You

Big Step

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In 1992, the third wave ska revival was just starting to gather steam, and New York's Moon label was starting to follow what would turn out to be a somewhat misguided strategy of signing as many young bands as it could. Unfortunately, many of these were not really ready for the spotlight, and the Moon catalog suffered as a result. But Ruder Than You showed real promise on its uneven but generally impressive debut. Whereas many of its contemporaries figured that "ska" just meant punk rock with guitars chopping the backbeat and maybe a couple of horns, Ruder Than You incorpotated rock and funk elements in a more organic and artful way; while on Big Step the band's attempts at rap were embarrassing (note the particularly lame "Just Might Like It That Way") and its lyrics tended to be a bit whiny (note the equally lame "Easier"), it hit the nail on the head with nicely arranged and thoughtful songs like "Swallow Blood" and "Future Girl," which matched well-crafted melodies to tightly arranged horn charts and a solid rhythmic structure.

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