|Reuben And The Dark — Funeral Sky |
Reuben And The Dark — Funeral Sky
ψ “Rolling Stone” has the same soaring, relentless acoustics of early Mumford and Sons, before they became frat favorites. © Reuben and the Dark — Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ON, June 12
Formed: 2012 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Album release: May 27, 2014
Record Label: Arts & Crafts
01. Bow And Arrow (3:20)
02. Devil's Time (3:40)
03. Rolling Stone (4:18)
04. Shoulderblade (3:47)
05. Standing Still (3:54)
06. Marionette (4:46)
07. A Memory's Lament (3:33)
08. The River (4:04)
09. Can't See The Light (3:47)
10. Funeral Sky (2:35)
11. Black Water (2:36)
ψ All tracks written by Reuben Bullock
ψ Funeral Sky is produced by Christopher Lloyd Hayden (Florence & The Machine) and Stephen Kozmeniuk (Madonna, Nicki Minaj, The Game feat. Kanye West), and is mixed by Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Adele).
Members: Reuben Bullock, Shea Alain, Scott Munro, Distance Bullock
ψ Funeral Sky is the stunning debut album from Reuben And The Dark, the harmonious collection of five multi-instrumentalists lead by Calgary's Reuben Bullock. This suite of eleven carefully crafted songs evokes the full spectrum of the group's uplifting folk and gripping soul, with depth and seamlessness that bely their youth. The dramatic "Bow And Arrow" flows into the summer tint of "Devil's Time"; the expanse between anthemic "Rolling Stone" and "Marionette", with its stark beauty, showcases the effortless range of Reuben And The Dark, exploring the duality of misery and joy with introspective dirges and glinting, earthen atmosphere. Funeral Sky is produced by Christopher Lloyd Hayden (Florence & The Machine) and Stephen Kozmeniuk (Madonna, Nicki Minaj, The Game feat. Kanye West), and is mixed by Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Adele).
By Chris Steffen
ψ Canadian indie rock band Reuben and the Dark is a member of the Arts & Crafts family, the label best known as the home base of Broken Social Scene and other affiliated artists. Songwriter Reuben Bullock began as a solo artist, but eventually expanded his project into a full band, Reuben and the Dark. Funeral Sky is the band's first release for the label, and showcases their immersive, anthemic sound, which is right in line with the blooms of fireworks depicted on the album's cover. The climactic eruption of distortion on the song "Rolling Stone," in particular, is a highlight, and contrasts well with the piano balladry of "Standing Still, which comes later on.
ψ "With its expansive indie folk darkness and tones of gothic gospel, the debut album by Calgary's Reuben and the Dark has no shortage of brooding intensity. Co-produced by Yukon native Stephen Kozmeniuk (Madonna, Nicki Minaj) and Florence + the Machine drummer Christopher Haydn, this is actually the third release by singer/songwriter Reuben Bullock, but the first under the full band moniker Reuben and the Dark. Reuben, along with brother and drummer Distance Bullock, bassist Scott Munro, and multi-instrumentalist Shea Alain evoke the wide-open visages of their native Western Canada through the sepia-toned lens of the amped-up folk-pop sound. Acoustic guitar, banjo, trumpet, and a rich choral blend pervade the 11 songs on Funeral Sky, which has its roots in the ambitious emo exaltations of Bright Eyes and the heartland anthems of Bruce Springsteen. Standout cuts like "Devil's Time" and "Can't See the Light" pull out the kind of driving rock charm that inspires putting wheels to road and chasing the fading sunset. The moody call-and-response gospel throwback "Marionette" shows off the band's strong harmonic chops, which appear throughout the album and save tracks like the opener "Bow and Arrow" from falling too deeply into the growing chasm of generic, big-budget indie folk. Other songs like the single "Rolling Stone" are not so lucky, and its intended folk-revival charm comes off too hokey, sounding like the Lumineers singing "A Mighty Wind." Still, Reuben and his crew do manage to eschew some of these stylistic faux pas, taking some interesting turns with stronger textural tracks like the atmospheric instrumental title song and the closer "Black Water." For the most part, Funeral Sky improves upon Bullock's previous solo releases and is greatly aided by the addition of a full-time band and more rock-oriented production." Un bel album!
written by: Kendall Klitzke May 21, 2014
ψ Hold off on puns about sandwiches in the shadows when mentioning Reuben and the Dark’s masterful debut album, Funeral Sky. The folk record is a striking collection of anthems and dirges fueled by the indelible chemistry of frontman Reuben Bullock and his brother and percussionist, Distance Bullock.
ψ The Calgary four-and-sometimes-five piece — multi-instrumentalists Shea Alain and Scott Munro in addition to the Bullock brothers — have all of the soul of Britain’s Sam Smith and the hit-making potential of Imagine Dragons (though Reuben and the Dark is profoundly less annoying.)
ψ Funeral Sky has some heavy hitters in its corner. The record is produced by the UK’s Chris Hayden (Florence & the Machine) and Canada’s Stephen Kozmeniuk (Madonna, Nicki Minaj) and mixed by Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Adele). The layered, intricate harmonies and repetitive, infectious lyrics prove that this group is not messing around with its debut.
ψ Rueben’s throaty, masculine vocals give the indie record sex appeal and add earnestness and honesty to the simple, but snappy lyrics. Lines like, “It’s quite a sight for my sore eyes”; “Said I don’t wanna die in the middle of a city/So they wrote it on my headstone”; and “How my lungs became eels became eyes” from the relentless single “Rolling Stone” demonstrate RATD’s lyrical approach — a blend of poetry and turns of phrase that creates a feeling more than a traceable story.
ψ Each track is in perpetual motion (notably the charging “Can’t See the Light”), even the heart breakers like “Standing Still” and “Shoulderblade.” In the latter, exposed acoustic instrumentation is peppered with horns. Reuben croons, “I’m trying not to try, but this fire is here before you/…/but you cut like a cold shoulderblade/and hide your love inside my head/and tie my hands behind my back.” In this track and throughout the record, Reuben is nothing without “the Dark.” The group’s impeccable vocal harmonies yank on the heartstrings as they sing, “Call me out.”
ψ In fact, the whole album is a potential exercise in holding back tears.
ψ RATD’s unique blend of folk, soul, blues, and bluegrass makes for an emotive and grounded sound. The banjo-tinged “A Memory’s Lament” is about being with a person who can’t handle heavy burdens, a more obvious story line than what is commonplace on Funeral Sky.
ψ It opens with, “I wrote a song for the ones I remember/A memory’s lament all the lovers I have met/I wrote a song for the ones that I forget/And take these dreams from me, I don’t need an easy way now.” Reuben is joined for a resounding chorus of, “Well, I buried my brother/I buried my lover/I buried my head in hands.”
ψ “A Memory’s Lament” is a powerful, unique track that shifts gears without being jarring, incorporating a heavy, slow drum line and entrancing sustained notes from a horn. It’s these simple additions that make already great songs unforgettable.
Funeral Sky feels timeless while still sounding new. Reuben and the Dark has showed its hand and revealed that it has an uncommon mix of raw power, talent, and chemistry. Whatever “it” is, these guys have it.
ψ "Reuben and the Dark write sing-along anthems that ebb and flow like the ocean, highway dreams that feel like a big rig in the prairie night. Their soaring harmonies have a joyous, almost worshipful feel to them." — Sled Island
ψ "Reuben and the Dark produce an emotive and chilling folk-rock sound that hinges on layered instrumentation and poignant lyrics." — Mixtape Magazine
ψ "Bullock's voice is intimate and immediate; note-perfect to deliver his testaments and make them resonate. He somehow manages to evoke some of the greatest folk singers without even once sounding imitative." — ffwdweekly.com.
Andrea Gin on May 20, 2014
By Zachary Houle 28 May 2014, Score: 6
Press: Canada: Killbeat Music (firstname.lastname@example.org) USA: Shore Fire Media (email@example.com)
Agent: Canada: Rob Zifarelli (firstname.lastname@example.org) USA: Matt Hickey (email@example.com)
Management: Arts & Crafts Productions firstname.lastname@example.org
|Reuben And The Dark — Funeral Sky |