As we have mentioned before here at punkonline.co.uk, we see the genre of punk as a ‘broad church’ and the latest album from Ruben Vine is certainly a long way away from the three-chord punk/Oi/Ska/grindcore that makes up the majority of our reviews.
Ruben Vine plays the majority his instruments and records in his Brighton based studio. Slave Love reminds me of the solo albums of Zounds Steve Lake and Danbert Nobacon of Chumbawamba. The album is very well produced and opens with a bluesy guitar solo on Here We Go morphing into a “poptastic” chorus. Blackhearted Devil also experiments with a blues style riff before Waste of time introduces some Levellers style violin work and a folksy vocal treatment with female backing vocals.
The lyrics deal with depression, sex – Dirty & Rude a T-Rex riffed effort, boredom and personal politics. There is certainly a blues guitar vein holding the songs together and this is very evident on the dual male/female vocals of Do you love me? This track would not sound out of place on a John Spencer Blues Explosion album and, on this evidence; Mr. Vine is a very accomplished songwriter.
The album has 9 songs in all with many clocking in over 4 minutes. This allows Vine to build complex verse/chorus interactions and the songs veer into different directions before returning to the original theme. One of the shorter songs – Can you feel? again adds female backing vocals to great effect. It’s a strong song and the entire album is a mellower, folkier, bluesier version of the DIY ethos that the punk spirit is all about.
The album grew on me after repeated listens and I think it will you on you too…check it out here: http://www.rubenvine.com/
Stumpy – Punk Online
- Here We Go
- Blackhearted Devil
- Waste of Time
- Dirty and Rude
- Do You Love Me?
- Love Drives
- Can You Feel?