Published Oct 23, 2019What if Coldplay didn't suck? If that's a question you've ever pondered, Reuben and the Dark have spent their career answering it. The Calgary folk-leaning indie rock act don't tap a new line of inquiry with their third full-length so much as they refine it.
The scope of the band's music has shrunk. Unexpected flourishes that gave their flowery compositions a few thorns have been pruned back in favour of safer music. The stems are all clean and reliable and the blossoms admittedly beautiful — "Faultline" is probably Reuben Bollock's keenest chorus melody — but a sense of danger found on previous albums is sorely missed.
What replaces it, aside from the aforementioned bloom of melodic focus, is a driving sense of urgency; even on slower folk tracks like "Breathe" and the '80s pop-isms of the title track, there's a continuous sense of propulsion in the rhythms. The album's biggest wrinkle and best moment is trip hop-meets-folk track "Wisemen," which points to an interesting direction the band could (and should) explore further to keep their sonic trajectory from falling too far into the predictable. (Arts & Crafts)