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Rubine - Album Review: Secret Danger

04 Nov 2019 // A review by butch181

Rubine hail from North Island’s Hamilton and Tauranga, which is ideal placement, as some New Zealand’s best classic rock sounds tend to originate from the Waikato/Bay of Plenty regions. The five-piece consist of Tana Tapri on lead vocals, Afzer Zameer on the drums, Dennis Ben on guitar, and Keith McGlade and Stefan Doll on the bass and guitar respectively, as well backing vocals.

Secret Danger is their first full-length offering as a group and there is definitely that eclectic mix of tracks that one can expect from a debut album. Less about creating a cohesive narrative and journey upon listening to the release as a whole, Secret Danger is a combination of different styles as they experiment and discover their sound.

There are definitely some overarching qualities to expect from a Rubine song with the majority of the album fitting in that accessible, radio-friendly 3.5 to 4-minute length (only Free Fall and Kind Words make it close to the 4.5-minute mark). From a compositional standpoint, the sound landscape is very simple, following a 4/4 time signature, with all three guitars often using the similar melodies.

This is not to say that the tracks are uninteresting. Instead, the structure creates a very light and airy vibe that works well with the slight off beats creating a funky rhythm. The tracks fit squarely in that classic rock genre, with a surf rock twinge that feels somewhat influenced by the likes of The Mutton Birds, R.E.M., and the Talking Heads.  

The instrumentation does mean the guitars will often blend into one sound, and the main criticism to the sound would be the complete lack of presence of the bass guitar in the rhythm. If that bass guitar had a stronger manifestation in the structure, it would create a much stronger body and volume to the pieces. As it is now, however, it keeps the focus squarely on lead vocalist Tana Tapri.

Tapri’s vocal style is intriguing, with a gravelly level of rasp in her voice that hints at Tina Turner influences. Care does need to be taken to ensure that she doesn’t stick to the same vocal melodies too often or the tracks will begin to feel samey, but for twelve tracks in an album, there is still a great deal of variety.  

The 4/4/ timing gives the album an easy rhythm that works well to get the body moving in the faster-paced tracks. One could say that the album is over-produced, with a level of clarity that will be difficult to replicate live and that can make their sound feel emptier than it should with the number of instruments and vocal layers involved, but there is a solid foundation. We just need Doll to step forward and fill that void!

Rating: ( 3 / 5 )

About Rubine

Rubine [Ru:bin] is a New Zealand rock band based in Hamilton and Tauranga. Their music is best described as classic rock and pop-rock with an edge, flavoured with memorable melodies and spiced with a bit of difference . All band members were born overseas (Slovakia, Germany, England, Sri Lanka). They made New Zealand their home and united their different influences to form the truly multicultiral rock band Rubine in 2016.

Rubine consists of Tana Tapri (lead vocals) Afzer Zameer (drums) Keith McGlade (bass, backing vocals), and Stefan Doll (guitar, backing vocals). Each member is looking back on years of successfully making music in New Zealand and Europe.

“We’ve written so many great songs that it was a challenge to decide which one we’d like to take to the stage. We ended up adding at least one new song to every gig.“ says Stefan Doll. “Over the last year we consolidated our performance and concentrated on recording Rubine’s debut album called Secret Danger.” which is now available online.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Rubine


Secret Danger
Year: 2018
Type: Album

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