Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
on October 4, 2013
Disclaimer: I am a HUGE Rippingtons fan, and am of the opinion that this highly talented group of musicians lead by Russ Freeman are incapable of making a bad record. With the Ripps, you can always be guaranteed first class musicianship, songwriting, feel and tone.
Having said that, Build to Last is not my favorite Ripps album. I really wanted to love it, but only "like" it. For me, the Ripps are at their best when they are swanky. The icy-cool urban smooth jazz sound or tropical/latin smooth jazz sound of high-end resorts and cruise ships, that's the Rippingtons sound that most appeals to me. The thing with this latest album is that Russ seems to go in the completely opposite direction. I think if you are a fan of moody alt-country, this record might appeal to you. I almost expected Chris Issak to make an appearance! The music, as always, is very textured and layered in all the right places. My favorite song, and the one that most feels like classic Ripps is "Hotel Deville". This is another one pf those styles that the Ripps do that I like..that Bruce Hornsby-ish heartland thing, with the piano and acoustic guitar. Very nice. On most of the other songs, I really don't like the "orchestra". It sounds very much to me that he used a synth pickup on his guitar and triggered orchestra samples. it has that "sucking" effect (odd volume swells and attack) that guitar synths sometimes do. So, all in all this is not my favorite album.
But Honestly, the Ripps are always good. I can safely say I like every song this band has ever recorded. No album is a dud. There is not much filler in any of their albums.
I just hope Russ eventually makes another classic smooth jazz album. FYI, my favorite Ripps albums are "Let it Ripp" and "Wild Card", but I own them all and like them all.