THE RUBS: IMPOSSIBLE DREAM
Al passed me a pre-release link to The Rubs’ new album, Impossible Dream, and it tore through my Macbook speakers and hooked me for the rest of the day. I was instantly impressed with the way this band was able to capture the spirit of early rock n roll in a brand new way. Their sound is classic but certainly not conventional. From its sound to its poetry, this album captures a timeless piece of teenage-dom.
The impossible dream IS the ambivalence of being a teenager—- an oxymoronic description of such a short period of time that stretches on forever. This album perfectly delves into slices of teen experiences that foster feelings both refreshing and nostalgic.
We look at our youth as an opportunity to finally control our futures and move toward everything we’ve ever wanted. The more we want to do, however, the less, we realize, we have the ability to control. (You can’t go on a trip because you don’t have a car, you don’t have a date to prom because your boyfriend broke your heart, you can’t go to that party because you have a curfew, etc.) As we struggle to prove ourselves as teens and experience everything we feel we must experience, the staunch order of society puts us back in our childish places and prevents us from enjoying youth completely. The contradictory relationship that stems from our own desire to prove ourselves in self discovery competing with our youthful necessity to live our most authentic years unbridled is what creates this conflict of the impossible dream and a most amazing title/theme of this album.
Starting off solid with “The Wrong Girl,” the song fills me with longing for teenage heartthrobs and the romantic idea that anyone can fall in love to a great rock n roll song. “Judy,” “Amy,” “Ruby” and “Emily” take us through girlfriends, crushes and heartbreaks. I feel the excitement of the beginnings of a relationship, the pain of being lovesick, the aftermath of a breakup. The titular song, “Impossible Dream” has a whimsical, harp-ish synthesizer backbeat that keeps the dreamy feelings of being seventeen so alive in a three minute window of music. With a nod to the easy, warm sounds of the early recordings of Sun Records, the tracks off Impossible Dream remind us that, while The Rubs use icons to influence their sound, these songs are by no means carbon copies. They offer something entirely new and different while examining personal themes of youth and sounds from the past. The album cohesively runs with high energy, pure, boy-ish rock n roll. This kind of rock energy isn’t packed with rage or discontent, just feeling. It’s happy but yearning for something that isn’t quite complete.
The Rubs were able to create an album that I fully vibe with. It’s music beyond sonic consequences. I feel it, and I visualize it. It’s a scrapbook of longing and breaking rules, sunny smiles and open windows, skinny boys with long hair and freckled girls with halter tops. I’m really feelin’ it.
Melted asked Joey Rubbish of The Rubs a few questions aboutImpossible Dream:
How do you think you have progressed (lyrically, stylistically, personally, etc) from the release of this LP compared to your previous LP?
Well this new LP is stylistically more varied from the first LP. It was recorded over a much longer period of time and each track reflects the moment that it was conceived. It was all done alone in my apartment which gives it more of an intimate, homemade quality. That also enabled me to spend more time on the arrangements and recordings.
Your songs have been described as “timeless,” as being capable of fitting into every era with a bittersweet hint of nostalgia. Do you attempt to create this old sound or is it just a byproduct of your writing process? Are there certain musicians you always keep in mind while recording? Do you think this time subjective element is important in making music?
Haha…I’m not sure how timeless the music is, but its made with an emphasis on songwriting (as opposed to aesthetic/production) which is very important to me. I think my style sounds “older” because a lot of music of the past emphasized that as well. I tend to listen to music that’s 30 or more years old so my music probably is a reflection of that as well.
Any upcoming shows for The Rubs?
The LP release show is May 24th at East Room with Tough Shits (Philly). We’ve also got a show at Reed’s Local on 6/16 with Psychotic Reaction (OKC).
review by ALEXANDRA PASQUARELLI
questions by AL SMITH