Gritty blues-rock bliss and Americana warmth both meet with thoughtful, captivating story-telling throughout this conceptually engaging new album from songwriter and artist Ruborg.
You Made Me A Criminal kicks things off and quickly sets the mood with striking riffs, organic intensity, and a roaring rock vocal born to perform in this manner. Soon enough the details of the story begin to intrigue – while the hook could be metaphorical, deeply reflective of personal issues, it connects with the verses to tell more of a third personal story of a drug mule.
The details behind all of these songs actually add a whole new level of appeal, and meanwhile the music offers that classic, nostalgic power-rock aura that’s been all but missing from much of modern music.
Join Hands softens the mood, injecting a welcomed hit of Americana good vibes to contrast the melancholy and struggle that starts off the lyrics. Ultimately the song speaks on unity, working together as one, and it leaves a powerful sense of possibility and joy lingering after listening.
When The Going Gets Tough follows and shines further light on the inherent warmth and optimism of much of Ruborg’s artistry. A bright and beautiful song, with a comforting energy and concept, which, despite its relationship-based plot, seems to again speak well on a tumultuous 2020 and the need to stay united and positive. This one in particular feels reminiscent of indie legends Cranford Hollow, though with a more classic, pop-rock driving-ballad writing style.
Hard Streets follows and immediately re-ignites that raw rock energy with distortion and fast-fingered riffs. The story-line pours through lyrically and musically, lifting the mood of the room with an infectious pace and a satisfying hook.
Contrast works its magic again as a hopeful and calming I’d Rather Be Alone (If I Can’t Be With You) washes over with a country rasp and reflective, intimate core. Great songwriting, addictive and heartfelt. Blood Meridian afterwards hits with a sort of Sons Of Anarchy-esque stylish, carefree and poetic swagger. An interesting backstory makes this one more than worth the time it takes to delve in. A personal favorite.
At the penultimate moment, We All Need A Plan sails through like a long-lost ballad, complete with a rise-and-fall melody, a beautifully considerate hook, and immediately intriguing lyrics that hold attention well throughout.
Good Days Ahead then finishes things up on a colorful, optimistic high – both musically and conceptually. One last blast of lyrics that lay out imagery and set the scene beautifully, followed by one last hook that uplifts and engages in a memorable way. The whole thing reminds us to appreciate the little joys in life. Really nicely done.
Instrumentally eclectic yet always organic and immersive, lyrically captivating, interesting – there’s a nostalgic core to this album, but it leads with creativity and passion first and foremost; and an essential level of professionalism musically. An easy project to lose yourself in for an hour or so.