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Rubes | Hokum | review | rock | metal | Lollipop
by Brian Varney
The first thing I noticed about The Rubes, and I'm sure the first thing you'll notice as well, is the vocals (courtesy of a guy named Mace). The band lays down a nice groove with some tasty ca-chunk ca-chunk metal riffs over top, and all of a sudden this guy who sounds like he wants to be Steve Marriott comes wailing in over top of it all. "What the fuck?" I like Steve Marriott, but not in this setting. Back into the pile...
But then something happened. I kept thinking about what I'd heard. Riffs would pop into my head at odd times, and I'd remember snippets of songs while I was laying in bed or cooking dinner or something. I gave Hokum a few more spins and I found myself really enjoying it. The vocals didn't bother me so much; in fact, I began to genuinely enjoy them. They may not be what you'd expect, but does that make them bad? Now I can't imagine anyone else singing these songs.
And even if you never get to that point with the vocals (or if they never bothered you in the first place), there's plenty of musical goodness to sink your steak knife into. The top-notch tunes glide effortlessly along on the wings of the remarkably fluid rhythm section (drummer Greg Fee is a monster), and guitarist Brent Beaver holds his own whether he's playing chunky metal riffs ("20 Three"), anthemic classic rock ("Change My Mind," which makes me want to sit on the front porch and drink beer), or even introspective acoustica ("Interlude," which has a flute solo!). The band shifts stylistic gears often (sometimes within the same song), but it's never done with the clinical, art-school formality of, say, Naked City. The vibe here is warm and organic; ideal for your next rendezvous with the bong or backyard cookout.
(PO Box 5070 Fredericksburg, VA 22403)