The Rubens – [Album]

The Rubens – [Album]

Friday, 01 April 2016

Artist: The Rubens

Album: Hoops
Label: Warner Brothers
Do you know the reason why the catbird is able to immitate other bird and animal sounds, reader? It’s actually a defense mechanism: catbirds want to either blend in with their surroundings and not get noticed by potential predators, or imitate a sound which will scare potential predators away. The catbird’s abilities come to mind when one thinks about The Rubens too; on first listen, it’s easy for listeners to melt into the lush and sweet Southern soul-rock sounds frontloaded into Hoops’ opening track, “Hallelujah.” There, singer Sean Morgin croons out the song’s melody with all of the tonal sweetnessof a man who grew up singing in his local Baptist church choir while keyboardist Elliott Morgin, guitarist Zaac Morgin, bassist Will Zeglis and drummer Scott Boldwin line up a simmering and sumptuous backdrop to support him. Listeners will find themselves sinking deep into the sound and relishing in it, and they’ll begin to look closer at the CD’s liner notes for lyrics (“lines like “I’ve got a message to preach/ There’s not a love you can teach/ That I don’t already know/ Cause I’m a son of a gun/ And I’ll wait ’til you’re done” are well worth finding) and maybe go online to look at the band’s website. It’s then they’ll realize that The Rubens are actually an Australian band.

…And so, the catbird strikes again.

Regardless of where they’re from, there’s no way to deny the quality of the eleven tracks which comprise Hoops. After “Hallelujah” sets the soulful primary parameters, The Rubens dig in and further refine the combination of rock and rhythm & blues with which they opened the record to fantastic ends. Tracks like the late-night, minor key thriller “The Night Is On My Side,” the sort-of Phillie Soul-sounding “Bitter End,” the surly “The Original” and the swaggering closer “The Fool” all further flesh out the slick and smooth rock soul sound of “Hallelujah” but, rather than just coming off as repetitive, each song proves to be perfectly satisfying as the album progresses; true, there isn’t a tremendous amount of variation in the sound, style or structures of the songs, but each proves to remain engaging as the album progresses anyway.

After having run front-to-back with Hoops, there’s no doubt that The Rubens will have won some fans, but the real test will be what the band brings with them when they return with its follow-up. Simply playing catbird again will simply not be enough; while it works very well on Hoops, the band will need to do more than just mimic the great sounds of rock history, they’ll need to make some of their own. Happily though, mimicking the great sounds as they’ve done takes no small amount of talent in and of itself, so there’s no doubt they’ve got a better-than-average chance. [BILL ADAMS]


Hoops is out now. Buy it here on Amazon.

Comments are closed.