Beneath the outpouring of praise for The Rubens’ self-titled debut album back in 2012, there was a quiet worry about where the strength of the band truly lay.

For some, the album seemed little more than filler for their irresistible singles ‘My Gun’ and ‘Lay It Down’. Many have waited eagerly to see what the group would come out with next.

Three years later, The Rubens have finally answered with Hoops, a tight and immaculately produced album. But while production values are high and serious effort has clearly been invested into it, it still somehow feels inconclusive. More precisely, it feels as though, in their attempts to live up to the bar they set themselves, The Rubens have tried to do too much, resulting in songs that feel clunky and far too complicated for their own good, such as ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Bitter End’. They do find their stride, begin to relax a little and enjoy themselves with tracks like ‘Hoops’ and ‘Switchblade’, but once again, it feels that in their pursuit for perfection, something has been missed.

This isn’t to insinuate that it’s a bad album – it’s a solid effort, but it’s too audibly conscious of what it needs to live up to.

Hoops by The Rubens is available through Ivy League.

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