Does Reubens Accomplice's I Blame the Scenery Hold Up More Than a Decade Later?
If the rest of Reubens Accomplice's forthcoming Sons of Men sounds anything like "I'm Leaving," it's bound to be a great album.
In honor of the band's album release show at Crescent Ballroom tomorrow, I decided to give the band's 2001 release, I Blame the Scenery a few spins to see how it stands the test of more than a decade's time.
For starters, I'll give you a little context about myself. Even though I'm a native Phoenician, I haven't listened to Reubens Accomplice much. Yes, I know, blasphemy.
When I Blame the Scenery was released, I wasn't that interested in the pop- rock/emo subgenre of music. I was a little preoccupied with the whole (pop) punk thing, in case you couldn't tell from some of my previous Throwback Thursday posts. I really enjoyed Jimmy Eat World's Bleed American, but I didn't get much closer than that until I delved into bands like Jawbreaker and Sunny Day Real Estate a few years later.
Now that we've got that out of the way, I can write about I Blame the Scenery with a fresh 2012 perspective. Sure, it definitely sounds like it was recorded in the early '00s, but that's mostly due to its somewhat unrefined, yet authentic production and echoes of similar artists from the same time period. I hear bits of Knapsack, Sunny Day, and The Promise Ring in there, and that's a good thing. If I had known better as an early teen, I would have really enjoyed this record, especially songs with adorable lyrics like "We're Waking Up Kings."
Without knowing the release year, I probably could have figured it out easily, though I wouldn't be surprised if it came out in the last couple of years as a tip of the hat to the forerunners of emo -- not that Hot Topic/My Chemical Romance crap. The guitar rhythms stand out in an intricate Kinsella brothers (Cap'n Jazz) sense that isn't quite as chaotic as Joan of Arc, making Reubens Accomplice a little more Mike (Owen) than Tim.
Scenery is full of surprises: "We're Not as Big as we Feel" is standout track thanks to subtle horns and an infectiously catchy chorus. The story told in "Loop" is all too familiar, but the gorgeous instrumental intro seems to help take the sting out of being hung up on someone who doesn't feel the same way about you. The lyrics are laced with imagery, from Geppetto pulling the strings in "Oh My God" to the guy who acts like an arrogant movie star in "I Swear to Good You're God at This."
I Blame the Scenery is one of those albums that grows on your with every listen, so I suggest that if you're getting hooked like I am, you should go see the mystical Sasquatch band tomorrow night.
Reuben's Accomplice is scheduled to perform Friday, August 10, at Crescent Ballroom.