Formed and led by the three Margin
brothers—Zaac on lead guitar, Sam on vocals and guitar, and Elliott on
keyboards (along with drummer Scott Baldwin)—Austrialia’s Rubens deliver
soul-infused alt-pop gloriously twisted by Zaac’s “creepy western”
single-note lines. Originally released on the Margin boys’ home
turf—where it received a J Award “Album of the Year” nomination—The Rubens [Warner Bros.] is the group’s major-label debut in the U.S.
more about texture, so I’m all about lots of reverb, tremolo, and
fuzz,” says Zaac, who constructs his tones using a Gibson SG Custom with
three pickups, a Boss TR-2 Tremolo, a Boss FRV-1 ’63 Fender Reverb, and
a Black Cat Bee Buzz. “I run a Marshall JMP head with a Marshall 1960
cabinet, and a Fender Twin simultaneously. I pretty much stole what Dan
Auerbach did live and copied it. Mostly, it’s the Marshall turned up to
15 with a little bit of that Fender clean tone in there. I’m not a big
fan of solos, and I don’t enjoy playing them live. I like noise or
someone going crazy—like Neil Young playing one note 50 times on
The Rubens sound was devised somewhat in a vacuum,
with the foundation based on hearing Hendrix and the Stones, blended
with the Van Morrison and Tracy Chapman songs spun by the Margin
brothers’ mom and dad.
“We grew up in the countryside,” explains Sam, “so
we were never part of a cool music scene—or any music scene at all,
really. Our basic influences are purely what we heard being played in
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