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Reuben - Very Fast, Very Dangerous

  by John Clarkson

published: 7 / 10 / 2005

Reuben - Very Fast, Very Dangerous
Label: Xtra Mile
Format: CD


Promising second album from rising metal act Reuben, which despite a lot to offer is marred by a tendency still to depend too much on the cliches of the genre

There is a growing unfortunate tendency amongst metal singers to become involved in tuneless shrieking, and Jamie Lenman, the vocalist and guitarist, with Surrey-based trio Reuben sadly makes no exception to this. There are moments on Reuben's just released second album 'Very Fast Very Dangerous' in which he sounds like he is in the process of being butchered. It is a pity really because in other respects both Lenman and his band, who won the Kerrang Award for Best Newcomer in 2004, have a lot to offer. Still in his early 20's, Lenman is an acute, especially honest lyricist, recalling in his softer moments the late Malcolm Owen of the 70's punk band The Ruts, both in his brittle vocals and also in his angst-ridden passion for his life. Jangly thrash number 'It's All About Control' finds him enraged at himself for wasting his life away by going out on yet another boozy bender. On the rumbling white noise of 'Every Time a Teenager Listens to Drum and Bass a Rockstar Dies' Lenman meanwhile knows neither what to do about the angry temper tantrums he is prone to, or the leech-like barely-remembered acquaintances from his past who have started hanging around him again as Reuben have gained increasing acclaim and exposure. Reuben stand out from the current crop of metal bands in other respects also. Bassist Jon Pierce wields his bass like it is a main instrument. The group also have an especially robust drummer in the shape of Mark Lawton, who proves himself able to slip from a jazz to a punk riff effortlessly. They are obviously keen too to experiment and to try out ideas. Opener 'A Kick in the Mouth' has Reuben combining metal beats with funk rhythms in a manner that would do the Red Hot Chilli Peppers proud, while the balladic 'Nobody Loves You' finds them effectively experimenting with strings. Reuben, however, are still too prone to crank up the volume when a little subtlety would do. As well as the screaming, Lenman, like so many other singers of his genre, also tiresomely tends to over rely on the "Fuck" word. To be fair, however, he does seem at least in part aware of his band's shortcomings. The sinister, thunderous 'Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em', in which Lenman's screaming is ironically at some of its worst, finds him at 21, with hit singles behind him, restlessly knowing that he has already achieved a lot, but still yet unable to respect or admire himself, 'Very Fast Very Dangerous' is an album of some fine individual moments, but which doesn't quite gel together as a whole. One, however, gets the impression that, if they were able to escape the trappings and the cliches of their genre a little more, that, possibly on another album, Reuben might be phenomenal.

Track Listing:-
1 A Kick in the Mouth
2 Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em
3 Best Enemies
4 It's All About Control
5 Every Time a Teenager Listens to Drum & Bass a Rockstar Dies
6 Nobody Loves You
7 Blamethrower
8 Keep It to Yourself
9 Lights Out
10 Alpha Signal Three
11 Good Night
12 Return of the Jedi
13 Boy

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live reviews

Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth, 19/9/2007
Reuben - Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth, 19/9/2007
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