On Ruby Series, ex-Spinanes singer/guitarist Rebecca Gates continued her straightforward style of songwriting while adding a unique blend of instruments throughout. The disc begins with "The Seldom Scene," complete with Wurlitzer organ by Mikael Jorgensen, John McEntire on Glockenspiel and drums, while Gates' distinct and soulful voice dances on top of the instrumentation. The music is certainly more subdued than her work in the Spinanes, a duo who made a few stellar albums on Sub Pop in the early '90s and had a definite impact on jangly indie rock for years to come. Jorgensen continues on vibraphone and organ on the second track, "Lure and Cast," a jazzy and relaxed track. Noel Kupersmith performs mellotron on the fourth track, "In a Star Orbit." By this point in the album it's become clear that Gates has her mind set on pushing the envelope at this point of her recording career. While the Spinanes were simply drums and guitar, this debut solo disc is littered with a variety of underused and eclectic instruments, which come together in festive and playful arrangements on most of the seven tracks. Track six, "The Colonel's Circle," is the simplest song by far, as it includes only Gates on vocals and guitar. The album's final track, "I Received a Levitation," also includes modest instrumentation, with only Gates on guitar and vocals and Kupersmith on bass and his most subdued appearance on electronics on the disc.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer