The Rubens – The Rubens
It’s easy and almost fun, to sit down and play spot the influence with an album as hyped as this one. And while emulating your influences too closely is never a great idea, when the songs are strong it becomes an offence of lesser note. The Rubens’ debut is certainly strong – even if their white boy soul could have been cut straight from The Black Keys’ 2010 album Brothers.
Singles ‘Lay It Down’ and ‘My Gun’ both sound more robust than on the band’s original home recordings (they’ve gone from bedroom demos to big festival bills in under two years), the album’s centrepiece ‘Be Gone’ steals the show with its loping guitar sitting nicely under impassioned, sneering vocals.
The record could afford to be shorter, ensuring their singular groove doesn’t begin to lag, but for the most part the hooks are strong enough to hold attention. If they don’t manage to forge a stronger identity on future recordings they could fall by the wayside, but The Rubens have crafted a strong debut that belies their age and experience. While the hype may be bigger than the end product, a blueprint for greatness is there.