Seemingly aware of the usual trappings of mundanity associated with the 'sophomore slump', on their new album, Hoops, The Rubens drag their indie-souls away from the gloomy basements and out into the sunshine. It's a "welcome change", as Jaymz Clements remarks in his recent review of the album, with the knock-on effect from the more playful palette pursued being a less refined sound, a freedom echoed through the album's embracement of variance.
But does this optimistic shift in their sound stem from a specific place? Ahead of Hoops' release tomorrow (August 7), we caught up with lead vocalist Sam Margin to discuss the origins of the album's songs.
All words below by Sam Margin.
Like a lot of our songs this started out with programming a beat, putting it on loop and riffing on it until something decent came out of it. The song itself is about people trying to force their religious beliefs or ideas upon you, and in the process destroying what it is they're plugging.
"Hoops" came as we were getting mixes on what we thought was the finished album. We kept writing just for something to keep us occupied, but when this one came up we felt it had to be on the album. It's about being in a relationship with someone who does damaging things to keep you close, when really their actions are pointless because you love them despite it all.
"The Night Is On My Side"
This one is about being young and single. Not necessarily trying to glamorise one night stands or partying but being realistic about it. And not taking it too seriously.
I wrote this song while really drunk. I woke up the next day and found it on my computer with no recollection of recording it. I basically had to work out what the hell i was trying to say lyrically and when we wrote the chorus a few months later.
This started with the vocal hook. We built the whole song around it. It's basically about getting to a point in a relationship where you and your partner have slowly destroyed everything around you, leaving not much left to salvage. When you're underwater do you hold your breath and hope that it'll all be fine, or do you give in.
"Cut Me Loose"
This is the first song we wrote for this record. It's about peoples issues getting in the way of future relationships. Particularly not being able to let go of each other's pasts.
"Things About To Change"
By far the most positive song on the record. It's upbeat in its rhythm and the overall message — about making it through a dark time and becoming optimistic for the first time.
A more heavy track. Battlescars are the scars people are left with after a few bad relationships. They hold you back and make you more cynical and untrusting when considering falling for someone again. Sick guitar solo by Zaac [guitarist]!
"Hold Me Back"
It's about addiction. Whether its booze, drugs or whatever else, and how it affects loved ones.
It's a love song in a way. Trying to inspire someone who could do with a confidence boost by pointing out how unique she is.
A band favourite. A really cool guitar sound that Zaac got using his fender blender pedal. Cannot wait to play this one live!!!
Topics: The Rubens