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

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