When not providing musical material for the band Breezy, Chad Rubin can be found making albums under his own name. Dance fuelled, accessible, pop albums. And extremely good ones at that. Pop, arguably, has gone into a bit of a decline of late, artists happy to toe the line suggested by record industry spreadsheets and accounts departments are retreading the same old paths and using sonic tricks, musical gimmicks, guest rappers and dance routines, flirty videos, smoke and mirrors and listeners seem happy to let them.
What is apparent on Feels, right from the off, is that Chad Rubin doesn’t have to rely on any of that. Why? Because he writes great songs and isn’t that what really matters? Rhetorical question, let me answer for you. Yes. Yes, it damn well is!
Take the title track for instance. Sultry brass leads us into a slow and sleazy groove, blues vibes meet pop awareness and a song so authentic that the more discerning end of the blues-soul community is just as likely to embrace the song as the young pop-picker looking for their next slice of accessible, chart bound coolness.
And one song of this calibre would be something to boast about but Feels is full of them. Amen is a hook-laden, slightly island-vibed, lilting piece of acoustica, the sort of thing that the likes of Ed Sheeran would break your arm for…don’t fall for that nice guy act, he’s flippin’ ruthless. (Ignore that last accusation, I actually met him when he was sofa-surfing his way around the UK ahead of the first album and a nicer guy you couldn’t hope to meet.)
Sanity is a reggae-skank driven and sultry groover, with just a lyrical hint of menace, Singing Your Song is smart and spacious, Lost In The Jungle is infectious and perfect for that point in the evening when the club is starting to chill out and Dark Side fully embraces the indie vibe that informs most of the album.
It’s a smart album, one full of short, sharp and shockingly good tunes. Pop is built on exactly that; get things moving as soon as you can, present your idea in around three minutes, reel the listener in and then move on to the next tune before the song outstays its welcome in the listener’s head. Those are the rules of pop, always were and always will be. And if you need reminding of that, just give Feels a spin once a week to remind you.
Did I say once a week? Once a day is preferable, once an hour if you have time.
And if not, make time!