Blues and Rock Served Raw: Delta from Rubikon

More than four years after their previous release American Dream Machine (2011), the Boston-based band Rubikon is back with new material. These five guys have used these years to open the door to new influences and to new instruments. The result? A smooth and rich rock, marinated in blues influences and flavoured with interesting arrangements.

Rubikon’s new album, Delta, will hit the shelves at the end of August 2015. In order to make their fans’ mouths water, the band has pre-released a track, the first one on the album, called Live that Lie. The dirty riffs, the raw feeling and the alternation between a heavier and softer tempo make this song a great teaser. The well-placed breakdowns and the bluesy vibe dress the table for what is coming next and it stands as an excellent introduction to Delta.

Rubikon explores the various facets of their music in every piece. The song Three Days, for example, has an old school guitar solo followed by funky keyboards at 2:00, then everything served on a slower tempo. Vipers decorates a breakdown with snaps of the fingers, adding more personality to an already strong track. Another interesting element is the drum roll found as an intro on Swingers.

The very first notes of Sermon will make you say “That’s stoner rock, Baby!”. But it is the blurry sound, full of texture, and which is amplified by the female vocals, which bring a softer side to the second part of the song. It gives another perspective and fits well with the bluesy solo that follows.

Wasting time is the piece in which the five guys express their country influences the most. The recipe they used is an overall blues and stoner rock style resulting in refreshing music where the acoustic guitar dominates. What’s very cool is that when you think the song is at an end, the guys surprise you by playing another part, because who does not want to have more? Captain Deep also presents some of the band’s new influences. It starts with a distorted sound that leads to a Radiohead inspired intro and then the electric guitar creates the tone of the song, something that immerses the listener into the band’s very own dirty rock world.

Seven songs in, all of them being strong and compelling pieces, brings us to the eighth, Through the Looking Glass. This is the black sheep of the album, a song that does not fit quite well with the rest of the tracks. The sound is cleaner and does not have that bluesy rock style or dirty vibe found everywhere else on the album. The guys constantly use the keys and switch to another style, something softer, almost floral. It shows the guys are able to play something different for sure, but it clashes too much with the whole album and what has been established since Live that Lie. It just does not fit, and the bluesy rock and stoner rock fans might skip this one after the first minute. Pretty Pretty brings back the energetic dynamic guitar and the overall raw sound. It beautifully closes the loop started by Live that Lie.

Rubikon can be proud of its newborn. Delta proves to be a strong album, showing the different influences and talents of the members. Moreover, it was recorded live, which explains the energy injected in it and it has that certain something that pleases the ears.

This album gets 4.5 out of 5 cassettes

4.5 out of 5