The brainchild of two UK-to-US transplants with near-legendary backgrounds in production and A&R on both indie and major labels alike, Ror-Shak is an indie club music project with so much going on under the surface that, even if you’re not normally drawn to dance music, it’s definitely worth a listen. The whole thing has quite a cinematic feel to it – there’s depth to both the songs and the production, and it just sounds “widescreen” – as much as anything possibly could.
It definitely doesn’t hurt that Ror-Shak was able to call on some high-profile talent to come along for the ride. Julee Cruise, Lisa Shaw, Wendy Starland and others contribute vocals and, in many cases, to the music and lyrics themselves. Perhaps the most striking song of the whole set is “Fate Or Faith” featuring Julee Cruise; one doesn’t normally expect to hear an internal philosophical/theological dialogue set to music on any given day of the week, never mind set to a hypnotic beat. And the lyrics aside, it’s just great music. Not that any of the other songs are slouches – “Golden Cage”, “A Forest”, “Rescue Me” and “I Don’t Want (A Remake)” are standouts as well. There are a few instrumentals as too, with the moody “Heist” being an especially promising example.
Hopefully Ror-Shak can break out of the indie label orbit (not that there’s anything wrong with that – most of my “new artist” music purchases these days are on indie labels) and into the mainstream with this one, because it’s really, seriously good stuff. This is definitely an act to listen for down the road – to say nothing of giving them a listen here and now.
One minor note: the 11th track, “Window Pain” featuring Julee Cruise, is listed on the packaging but is nowhere to be found on the actual CD, not even as a hidden bonus track attached to the end of one of the other tracks on the album. I’m not sure if this misprint is on every copy in circulation or not.
- Lisa’s Song featuring Lisa Shaw (5:24)
- Fate Or Faith featuring Julee Cruise (6:55)
- A Forest featuring Chantal Claret (6:17)
- Golden Cage featuring Julee Cruise (6:11)
- Rescue Me featuring Wendy Starland (5:14)
- Interlude #1 (2:24)
- Be There (7:17)
- Love & Pride featuring Wendy Starland (5:26)
- Heist (3:20)
- I Don’t Want (A Remake) featuring Julee Cruise (4:38)
- Trust featuring Mark Holmes (2:48)
Released by: Koch Records
Release date: 2007
Total running time: 55:57