If, after you’ve listened to Hard Enough, the opening track on Chicago Garage Rockers The Rubs (essentially the solo project of a certain Joey Rubbish, in that he sings, writes all the songs and plays all the instruments on the record), then you’re a better person than I. Surrounding himself with Chicago’s finest DIY Garage sidemen for his incendiary live shows, he’s written an album of exactly that, incendiary garage classics. There’s so much energy in the record, its nigh on impossible not to be dragged along by it.
Strip the trashy drums and the fizzing, brittle guitars back, do away with the echo and vocals effects, and what you’re left with is lies somewhere between mid-60s Beatles, The Strokes and Elvis Costello. In fact there’s something of the bespectacled one about Joey Rubbish and his delivery, which adds that little bit of sparkle to the songs, only two of which makes it past the three minute barrier.
The album opens with Hard Enough, this infectious, playful number that sums the band up – melodious, fun and absolutely soaked in noise, Rubbish delivering his lines between big riffs that propel things onward in a supersonic fashion. I don’t want to follows in similar mode, harder and more urgent with Rubbish barking and screaming and the whole thing fizzing and bursting out of its constraints almost. Album highlight Until he’s mine follows, which feels like Please, Please Me by the Beatles being force-fed Speed and being dragged though Fugazi backwards. Seriously, its that good.
Elsewhere on the album, Montanaro (the real name of Rubbish) shows he’s not just a one trick supercharged garage pony, with the laid back, fuzz filled Runaway, and the proto punk of Rat Hole shows these razor sharp guitar teeth racing through what sounds like (at least from the title) it should be a Motorhead song.
Throughout the album there’s melodies to fall in love with – garage torch song Do You Wanna Go With Me Baby is given a Motown lyrical workout (I know that you’re Daddy hates me, etc etc) while the ebb and flow on the Mudhoney-ish Sensitive Guy is to die for. The album finishes with three songs under two minutes; Our Love is Wrong, with its added organ and countrified vocal harmonies is like a jab to the heart, the Ramones like Loved Her Too follows it up with a right cross to the chin, and closer What Did I Do is knock out.
The dedication on the record reads “special thanks to beer, weed, babes, cigarettes, electric guitars, Chuck Berry and feelings” and that, pretty much, sums it up.
Its out July 27th on cassette via Dumpster Tapes and Vinyl via Tall Pat Records.