With a Debut at #2 on the Australian charts, it’s safe to say Hoops has received some airplay. The NZ act have enjoyed support both at home and in Australia for a long time, so this is no great surprise.
Their tour kicks off October 9th and follows an eclectic path through all the Australian states, playing multiple venues in most. This kind of dedication to craft and fans is the endearing part of the Rubens- they feel more than relatable, actively approachable.
But, how is the album?
Their sophomore release contains more energy, to me. The relatively late recording of the singles imbues them with a frenetic tour-feeling and the longer catalogue of their sounds (which I will admit, I have not thoroughly explored) contains a bit of everything.
Hoops is easily a crowd favourite, with a standout, more defined and unconventional sound than the rest of the album while still staying within the confines of the genre. They’ve just released a video for it in the past week.
Hallelujah is an indie smash hit, with a ‘dance as you want’ vibe that’s only reinforced by the literal free dancing in the video clip. Spitfire vocals flow assertively over a simple, repetitive structure that does exactly what it should. The guitar takes precedence at some points and the vocals do not drown. Everything about this song feels in place.
It’s a cheerful album, but not a fast-paced one. Relaxing to listen to and blended with the best pacific indie sounds, its songs are as suited for jumping around as having a quiet bevvie round the back table.
Battles, a personal favourite of mine, takes a slower, darker into and turns into a piece that is almost reminiscent of the Kaiser chiefs, albeit with a completely different lead singer. The deep repetition of “never ever fall in love” is positively haunting in the best of ways.
The vocals at the start of ‘things about to change’ are another highlight. When Sam Margin uses his voice instrumentally more than lyrically it creates some great combinations and sounds with the rest of the band.
I’m not big on indie love very often, but somehow the Rubens keep it- if not fresh- then at a cut above the rest.