Following their hugely successful sophomore album Hoops, Sydney band The Rubens have released an infectiously joyous third album packed with beautiful details and soaring hooks.
LO LA RU may surprise some listeners who think they know The Rubens. Building on their formidable pop foundations, the band have incorporated a much more RnB vibe this time around, combining funky bass and slick beats under Sam Margin’s soulful voice. “We’ve always felt an RnB/soul influence behind our songwriting but probably didn’t have the confidence to let that show until we were two albums in” keyboardist/songwriter Elliott Margin explains.
Their confidence is clear from opening track ‘Million Man‘ that explodes with vibrant harmonies and brass to instantly reel you in to their ridiculously catchy vibes. Released as their lead single last year, this track was our first taste of the band’s unexpected collaboration with Run The Jewels producers Wilder Zoby and Little Shalimar, who they met at 2013’s Laneway Festival. Inviting the duo to their DIY recording studio in a remodelled WWII communications bunker last year, there’s an unmistakable new energy to the 12 tracks in this refreshing collection.
Second single ‘Never Ever’ feat. Sarah is another huge highlight. It marks the band’s first ever collaboration, with APRA ‘Breakthrough Songwriter’ of the year winner Sarah Aarons. Toning down the party for three minutes, the duet is a heartbreakingly real look at the end of love. The bittersweet vocals are delivered with rousing passion as they melt through ever-changing but always catchy melodies. A growing soundscape of intricate percussion, piano, and strings leads the final chorus into the devastating closing line “I think you broke my fucking heart.”
Towards the end of the album ‘SOSO‘ creates a bold and powerful soundscape that’s dark with determination. Overflowing with bubbling synths and bass and sassy vocals, the track inspires you to “work a little harder” just to get through the “so-so” periods in life. It’s a stark contrast to the bright tracks at the start of the album like effervescent groover ‘Go On‘ but it’s fuelled with the same vitality for life and music.
It’s clear that The Rubens had fun creating an entirely new sound for LO LA RU, the good vibes are highly contagious. “Listening back now, it feels like a photo album or something, looking back on good times you had with your buddies,” Elliott says.
The band are about to head out on a massive national tour, grab some of their sweet soulful energy here.
Words by Hayley Franklin.