I have started assuming that everything I listen to is going to be rubbish, so that I can only ever be pleasantly surprised and not crushingly disappointed. I love the thrill that unexpectedly good music can bring; the joy of discovery. As each track unfolds, I convince myself that the next track will probably be crap, even if the opener is great. In this spirit of anticipation I went about listening to Rubicava’s self-released yet very well-recorded album ‘Get Well Soon’. By track three, Table For One, I was a little bit in love, and I didn’t really care if the rest of the album was utter bobbins.
However, an extremely disturbing thought crossed my mind at this point and made me feel sick to my stomach: They fucking remind me of Keane. KEANE. A band that I would honestly rather stick pins in my eyes than take seriously; a band that every pore of my body demands that I hate regardless of whether their music is any good or not because I have decided that they are cunts, and that is the end of that. Such prejudices will no doubt one day be my downfall.
But back to the really rather good Rubicava. I have decided to let them off on the strength that thankfully they aren’t Keane and I can therefore enjoy their really rather good music with impunity. I repeat the phrase “really rather good” because that is how they described themselves in the subject line of their email. Ho-ho thinks I, who are these chancers? A tongue-in-cheek description of the band and their music followed, no doubt crafted to make them stand out from every other blindingly dull PR email currently lining the giant litter tray that is the internet. A risky strategy I thought at the time, because if they’re rubbish I am going to mock them.
However, my mockery could find no target. I loved the illustration on the front cover [of a bison, I presume] and I happen to think the impression you get from the cover of a CD is an important thing. They are young, talented, and obviously very savvy. There is nothing in the production to fault, the song-writing shows real intelligence, and the musicianship suggests a true dedication to their calling. Opening track Wastemaker is very catchy, and has a low-budget but perfectly acceptable video of the band playing under some colourful stage lights. I don’t see any reason why this shouldn’t be getting extensive airplay on mainstream radio stations. As I said, Table For One is wonderful - rather melodramatic and grandiose perhaps - but still probably one of my favourite finds so far this year. Track after track of the album unfolded, and I kept thinking to myself: “Surely the next track will let it down.”
The final collection of songs shows their potential across a range of styles, but mainly focussing on an anthemic Coldplay/Maccabees-esque style of pop [don’t worry – I’ve washed my mouth out], with a much more forceful guitar sound. I think the album works so well because they initially recorded 20 tracks and then picked the best 10 – a tactic I whole-heartedly approve of. The slower piano based start to track 9, Autopilot, and the introspective ballad Leaving Las Vegas which rounds the album off were the only moments for me that felt to slightly jar against the album as a whole; I thought I caught a faint whiff of pretention, but I could be mistaken. I expect the slow last track, after the energy of what preceded, was to show they are more than a one trick pony. “We’re just killing time” he sings. Blow the whistle, ref! All things considered, this is a very minor grumble, and a damn fine first offering – which incidentally is available to download for free. And as they say in their promotional bumf: “Rubicava would like to let the music do the talking for them. Not because they have nothing to say, but because they have loose tongues and don't wish to incriminate themselves.”
Posted: Wed 4 July 2012