Tuesday, 10 December 2013


Falls Festival this year is set to amaze with a brilliant lineup. We thought we'd review some of the artists that are performing, so after the jump, here is THE RUBENS.

Due to corporate assholing I’m finding it incredibly hard to get any pathos from the bands out there. Like, I’m glad you sound like a sugar-coated television screen from the 1980’s – replete with dickwitted head-banging – but when did we let Queen Elizabeth dictate the emotional value of human creation? Poignant monarchy is a paradox in itself, so when you actually get that indie-cum-pathos crossover from a band you better give it some respect, man. The Rubens may sound like a pretentious American sandwich from the land of “FuckAhtaHere!” but it’s basically the same concept: melt-in-your-mouth-emotional-eclecticism without all the condiments. Put in layman terms: if you aren't listening to them already or you decide not to take into consideration my snarky portrayal of a legitimately cool band, get the Fuck. Ahta. Here.

Their 11-track eponymous album brings it all – curt, heterogenic instrumental angst with a voice that crosses the line between Arctic Monkeys and early 90’s revivalism – think U2 or Radiohead, minus the “American Spirit” that keeps robbing us of actual talent. The Rubens have basically everything you were looking for in a male vocalist; testosterone-infused leather-jacket romanticism with a knack for not selling itself short. That isn't to say I want rugby-addicted gunslinging wannabe antagonists screaming songs about sexual innuendo in the recording room, it’s to say there has to be balance and I think lead singer Sam Margin finds that without belching out A Ballad of Ballsacks (or lack thereof). It’s to say his voice sports denim where his gut wears spandex, and not enough appreciate the slim-fitting fashion about his pallid yet emotional octave-wrenching talents. There’s a Marginal (woo puns) separation from the Indie and the Independent, but thanks to the vocal gunslinging of Sam the band’s ability to cross genres is supplemented only by the pathos you can hear in his inability to hide it. This makes for good, atomic listening. Take note of this all you mainstream assdouches.

But while Margin’s vocal connoisseuring is helping him get by in life, an Indie band is only as good as its guitar riffs. Between altruistic piano chords and a desirable acoustic-electric amalgamation, The Rubens are making something of themselves. I honestly don't think I can stress this enough; when most bands try to play their tacky BRAND SPANKING NEW SUZUKI 2000 ELECTRIC PIANO PLAYER ASDFGHJKL they usually sound like that guy who makes mixtapes for second-rate pornographical films on one of those barely legal websites. Shoutout to all the men who are pretending to not know what I'm talking about. Even worse, the public thinks that playing that fucking Suzuki with some overstated Gibson or underrated Les Paul that still manages to sound like that punk freak from Guitar Hero 2 is music. It’s not. You need balance and I cannot stress how satisfying the balance is in The Ruben’s instrumentation. It’s almost cathartic, like you're getting a sound that matches a voice as effusive as the Buddha’s piss. The moment his voice lilts on an emotional moment the piano is his best friend, the moment his voice goes Alex Turner on ya the electric chugging inherent with good indie productions is enveloping you. It might not sound like much of a compliment but there’s an art to balance in music that not enough people understand. Once you understand your sound and do it well there is a legitimate chance to make yourself famous without overplaying the Social Media Card or developing Hollywood Productions Syndrome, to which a cure has yet to be found. They're real, and if I didn't take as long as I did to get to that point you would never have believed it.

Don't get me wrong, the Rubens aren't perfect. They have grist, you just have to wait a moment or two to get at it. If I had to stress any particular hole in their music it would probably be how similar it all sounds, and I'm hoping we really get to hear Sam Margins and equally-important-others play out their musical potential the moment they release a sophomore serenade. I appreciate the eclecticism each individual member brings with them, and you can hear a lot of different influences on their sound, not only the aforementioned acts I’m sure many have compared them to. All I'm really asking for is a little bit of the avant-garde – show me what it’s like to hit a high note without the need for caterwauling amplifiers, let me taste the bitterness in whatever strings you decide to strum. Give me lyrics that put a chain on the denim or a bruise to the knees, not just another party/lovers in despair anthem. The ears aren't the only thing music can speak to, and if The Rubens mix up the meat under their bread and take that risky leap, I guarantee they won't just be another angsty love song cliché. But The Rubens bring promising pathos per the problematic pond, and the reality is they're as real as it gets among aspiring musical acts, so enjoy.

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