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Rubik

I stumbled upon an “old” favorite of mine (in my book, old begins at a month) today: Rubik’s Bad Conscience Patrol. I originally found Rubik through the trustworthy Hits in the Car. Stytzer’s comparisons are apt: both Radiohead and (most obviously in my mind) Mew are readily apparent in Rubik’s sound (you could fit Muse in there is well).

After falling in love with “Haiku Motorik” I immediately sought out Rubik’s initial release, People Go Missing. Unfortunately this debut EP had sold out in their native Finland and I couldn’t get my hands on it anywhere else. Thanks to a very helpful Last.fm friend, I found out that they were due to reissue People Go Missing with an extra disc of remakes, called Jesus. The reissue, titled Jesus vs. People ended up being slightly disappointing, especially given the lengths I had gone through to obtain the disc. “Haiku Motorik” was an obvious standout, with a catchy piano lick, bouncy bass line and swanky chorus – the first true song from a young band. The other tracks (even the re-works) left much to be desired.

Rubik – “Haiku Motorik” [Ministry recommended]

But all was not lost, friends! Before I had actually received Jesus vs. People I had discovered (from the same lovely Last.fm-dweller) that Rubik was set to release their first LP, Bad Conscience Patrol, which I quickly obtained and immediately fell in love with. Though uneven, BCP was nowhere near as inconsistent as J vs. P. Rubik had clearly matured since their first release and found a consistent sound that could hardly disappoint.

BCP has gravitas – distinct, prog guitars; melodious, dramatic vocals; complex song structures; shifting time signatures; and (of course) choruses with staying power. My initial (and continuing) reaction is that Rubik is Mew’s little brother, emulating, but ultimately falling short of, the older brother. But don’t discount Rubik because of this; when they get it right they can be unforgettable.

Take the first single, “City & the Streets”. Interestingly, this is one of the more low-key efforts on the album, and the only one on the first half of the disc. Underlying guitars counterpoint the soft vocal melody, as the song slowly builds to the first chorus, with sweet, synthesized backing vox giving it a heavenly feeling. After downbeat chorus, Rubik launches into a synthesized vocal bridge that launches into a swinging finale of guitar and synthesizers.

Rubik – “City & the Streets

Though a little light on melody, “Buildings” captures Rubik’s loud, stomping, time-shifting guitars and a nice slice of melody in the chorus, a song that strongly recalls Mew. Meanwhile, Rubik’s handle on complex song structure manifests in “Why Don’t You Let It Happen”. This track begins in the form a prog ballad, with eerie synths and vocals, and a vocal performance that gets more and more strained as it progresses. This then shifts into a march (no kidding), that sets us up for a transcendent climax and transition back into a more upbeat (and much less eerie) prog ballad, that finishes of with an energetic surge in the guitar department.

Rubik – “Buildings
Rubik – “Why Don’t You Let It Happen” [Ministry recommended]

Rubik’s BCP may be an inconsistent effort, but come year’s end I’m sure they will be among my top finds of ’07.

More on Rubik: [MySpace] [Last.fm] [Buy]

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