It’s taken five years for Ruca to follow up their debut album, Flow, but just take a listen to This Garden and tell me it wasn’t worth it. Since their debut, Ruca has played hundreds of gigs and that kind of stage time really shows in the confidence, groove and flow that their new album has going for it. Ruca is the lead singer, backed by Jack Howell on lead guitar, Jake Johnston on bass and Josh Montag on drums. You may note that Ruca overlaps completely with Scattered Melodies, which may explain why this album has taken a while to arrive.
In another era, I would have called singer Ruca a hippie chanteuse or an Earth goddess, which is what her seductive voice evokes. This is absolutely an album to get high to if that’s your thing. Even when Ruca sings of sadness and loss there’s something positively radiant about her energy. Plus the genres she explores from classic rock, soul, blues and reggae would just go well with “a swig and a toke,” as she says in “Pierpoint.”
This is one of the most feel-good records I’ve heard in a while, with no filler across all twelve tracks. The entire album is a delight. There’s no picking favorites, but the horns on “Get It Back” are brilliant. Then there’s the combination of keys and horns on “You Crossed Me.” Seductive “Sirens” has persuasive percussion, and there are harmonies and unexpected rap on “Sunshine.” Then there’s the calypso groove of “We Are All One Love” and the sheer magic of the title track. The brave finale is Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang” with a stunning, original arrangement. Pure listening pleasure for forty-four minutes straight.