With The Reveal, Rudman shows he knows this music inside out; any student of that era will recognize dead-on references to Shep Pettibone, NYC's Roxy, Pebbles, beat-box hip-hop, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis...you get the idea. But rather than coming off as glass-encased museum piece, it's a stone gas—a body-rocking collection of tunes that happen to double as an anthology of nostalgia-inducing reference points.
On first listen, some cuts on The Reveal might feel overly stripped down—but with their attention to detail, they manage to be fleshed out within their simple frameworks. Album opener "Inspectors Drive" is a case in point: A barebones beat, spare bassline, a few synth lines here and there. It's practically a schematic diagram of an early electro track's inner circuitry, but the sounds are so precisely arranged and pristinely recorded that it doesn't really need much in the way of ornamentation. (And it's damned authentic sounding as well; all it would need is Doug E. Fresh going on about how Delancey Street can't be beat, and you'd swear it was the real deal.)
Elsewhere, "I Dub You So Much" conjures memories of Jam and Lewis-era Human League; the lush (well, lush by this album's standards) "Romance Warrior" works as an instrumental follow-up to Mtume's "Juicy Fruit"; and "Gentle Fire" could easily be a dub of a Pettibone or Arthur Baker production, remastered and buffed to a glittering sheen. Sometimes, the songs almost come off as a derivative of an '80s derivative: "More Than a Memory" might be mistaken for a lost Metro Area number, right down to the mini string-section bits and charmingly simple percussion. But it's a truly beautiful number nonetheless. Like the rest of The Reveal, it's Rudman's love letter to a musical era that continues to shape the sound of the present.