Ruphus - New Born Day

(CD 2019, 40:44, Karisma Records KAR162CD)

The tracks:
  1- Coloured Dreams(4:04)
  2- Scientific Ways(5:59)
  3- Still Alive(4:35)
  4- The Man Who Started It All(5:28)
  5- Trapped in a Game(6:08)
  6- New Born Day(5:43)
  7- Day After Tomorrow(8:47)

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Ruphus released 7 albums between 1973 and 1979, after their acclaimed debut album New Born Day from 1973 the band moved to Germany. During the years the sound of Ruphus gradually turned from harder-edged prog to more jazzrock oriented. The band had success in Germany but due to multiple line-up changes eventually they dissolved in the late Seventies. Nowadays Ruphus first album is considered a real gem in the Norwegian progressive rock circles. Listening to this album I fully agree!

An important part of their sound is the interplay of the Hammond organ and rock guitar, reminding me of the Early British Progressive Rock Movement (somewhere between Atomic Rooster and Fruupp). Most songs contain catchy beats and sumptuous eruptions, blended with male vocals (with a strong accent) and female vocals (with hints from German Frumpy). The strong element in the music of Ruphus is delivering a variety in atmospheres and instruments, topped with a passionate approach.
A fiery electric guitar solo and a swirling Hammond organ solo, blended with duo vocals feature in the opener Coloured Dreams.
First acoustic rhythm guitar and synthesizer flights, and then a swinging mid-tempo with powerful drums and a flute solo in Scientific Ways.
Bombastic Hammond, fiery wah-wah guitar and a powerful saxophone solo in Still Alive.
First a dreamy atmosphere with flute and piano and then a swinging rhythm with wah-wah guitar and in the end subtle piano in The Man Who Started It All.
From bombastic with Hammond and raw but very passionate female vocals (evoking Inga Rumpf from Frumpy) or a churchy organ sound, to dreamy with mellow organ and a catchy beat with rock guitar, and in the end subtle acoustic guitar in the compelling Trapped In A Game.
Powerful Hammond and wah-wah guitar in the title track.
The highlight and most varied composition is the epic final song Day After Tomorrow. It starts with swinging Hammond, a Yes-like bass sound and vocal harmonies (evoking The Byrds), then dreamy with a churchy organ sound, gradually turning into a bombastic final part featuring intense vocals, strong drums, delicate piano work and in the end topped with inspired duo vocals, very compelling and a splendid conclusion of this album!

I am very pleased with the way Ruphus has captured that unique late Sixties and early Seventies prog spirit (passion, skills and adventure), a true gem in the Norwegian prog history!

**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Dave Smith)

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