(Wild Punk Records)
For more than two decades, the Rubinoos have been the
quintessential power pop band, thanks to their adroit use of surefire hooks and
catchy rhythms. Their output has been inconsistent of late, but with the
oddly-dubbed Automatic Toaster, the
band reclaim their standing among the leading retro rock contenders.
Practically every song boasts their infectious outreach, from the unconstrained
effusiveness of the defining “Two Guitars, Bass, and Drums” to the
dance-inspiring “Must Be a Word,” which sounds like it might have been written
with “Footloose” in mind. The didactic pulse of “Can’t Have Her Back” and “I
Pity the Fool,” along with the staggered pacing of “Mak Schau,” further affirm
the sense of absolute urgency that pervades this effort overall.
Still, the band isn’t above throwing in a couple of
surprises. A faithful retake on the aged chestnut “Black Is Black” makes little
attempt to redefine the original template. Likewise, the old school ballad “Same
Old Heartache” sounds so strikingly familiar it might have been recycled from
the repertoire of some familiar ‘60s standby. On the other hand, the closing
track “Cave Girls” is so silly and superfluous – c’mon, do we really need a
song written in praise of the Flintstones and friends? – that it strains any
credibility for cool. No worries though. The Rubinoos are still rocking and
ultimately, that giddy attitude is all that matters.
Guitars, Bass, and Drums,” “Can’t Have Her Back,” “Same Old Heartache” LEE