Reuben - We Should Have Gone To University
Craig Broad 05/10/2009
'We Should Have Gone To University' is a double CD and DVD that marks the indefinite hiatus of underground alternative British rock band Reuben. After their initial EP, Reuben exploded onto the British music scene with their debut album 'Racecar Is Racecar Backwards', a brilliant slab of alt-rock that showcased a sense of urgency alongside a beautiful melodic output, adding a freshness to the quiet-loud dynamic that had since become stale since Nirvana and spawning such great songs as 'Freddy Kreuger' and 'Lets Stop Hanging Out', both with a relate-able quirky element to them. Two albums followed, 'Very Fast, Very Dangerous' and 'In Nothing We Trust', both showcasing a different sound to Reuben fans, perhaps simpler and maybe heavier but none-the-less, still very Reuben, containing the DIY spirit they had since become renowned for. Reuben continued to tour constantly in-between working daytime jobs garnering more fans and better reviews becoming an underground band that you admired, perhaps you were even proud of; a band that worked so hard that they deserved to have a huge break through and it is a shame they have become yet another victim of the music business.
Essentially this is a b-sides cash in but obviously has an emotional attachment due to the fact that Reuben are no longer with us. On this release it is sadly quantity over quality really with the release spanning a massive forty seven tracks, some of which are single versions, live versions or remixes of the same songs which is disappointing as you find yourself skipping through tracks you've already heard twice before and if you haven't heard them before, you find the occasional few substandard ideas or just badly recorded songs in general.
That isn't to say that there aren't any gems on this release because there are. Songs like 'Shambles' and 'Lissom Slo' showcase a different side of Reuben, a heartfelt emotional vulnerable side with Jamie Lenmans vocals sounding like they could crack in two at any point but in a good way. 'Victim' harps back to the days of 'Racecar Is Racecar Backwards' but with a sound more mainstream than anything they have achieved previously. Also included is 'Scared Of The Police' which has always been a live favourite with its kooky lyrics and sing-along chorus. Note-ably, some cover versions are also included such as 'Feel Good Inc.' (Gorillaz) and 'The Hand That Feeds' (Nine Inch Nails), which despite looking like they could be disastrous on paper, actually work to great effect.
Ultimately, 'We Should Have Gone To University' is a fan boy/girl release. If you haven't heard Reuben before, then I recommend 'Racecar Is Racecar Backwards' however, if you are a huge fan and have all their other albums then you need this to add to your collection.