Album review: The Rubens - Self-titled

By Graham Reid

The Rubens. Photo / Supplied
The Rubens. Photo / Supplied

Australia's earnest Rubens may wrap their album in bright colours but that floral-delic rocket crashed into a wasteland is a metaphor: this is teen agony pop-rock about having love shot down (My Gun), coming to terms with yourself ("took something bad to show me what I had" on Never Be the Same), struggling with putting the blame on someone (the aching but tune-avoiding Lay It Down) and so on.

On home turf this four-piece have a following via Triple J - being good-looking guys doubtless helps - but the overall impression is much of this is angst-by-numbers. Whatever emotions are being wrung aren't matched by a persuasive delivery on something as potentially venomous as Be Gone ("he'll cheat, you'll see that we're all the same and shoulda never left me").

The big-hearted ballad bewilderingly called Elvis and the dramatic, twanging I'll Surely Die are memorable but, aside from Elvis, all the songs are co-written with their big-name American producer/mixer David Kahne (the Strokes, Lana Del Rey, Sugar Ray and others, mostly B-graders) and he certainly makes this sound crisp and radio-friendly.

While it pushes the right buttons you might feel not much else was their intention.

Stars: 2/5
Verdict: Heart 'n' chart-aimed troubled love from young Ockers

- TimeOut /

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2015, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 09 Oct 2015 12:45:01 Processing Time: 669ms