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The Chris Ruben Band’s all new single “Stomach Coil”

Roaring guitars are met with a stinging lyricism and sleek, stylish vocals in The Chris Ruben Band’s all new single “Stomach Coil.” Those who have been following the group’s ascent through the ranks of the underground hierarchy are more than aware of the mammoth, vinyl-quality rock might they produce when firing on all cylinders in the studio, but in “Stomach Coil” the band demonstrates a newfound passion for exploring the intricacies of their sound that is impressive to say the least. Steeped in smart songwriting as well as their trademark boisterous basslines, The Chris Ruben Band’s newest release doesn’t rely on simple hooks and flashy solos to win over even the harshest of critics among us.

The drums are rather low in the master mix of this track, but they’re nevertheless quite complex and dexterous when isolated and analyzed a little more closely. Though on the surface the percussion is a bit scattered in comparison to the tightly wound string play transpiring all around it, it’s this pulsating eclecticism that is actually setting the mood for the entire song. This experimental edge makes the lumbering bass a lot less pendulous and crude, and even adds a rebelliousness to the vocals that I don’t think would be there otherwise.

While the tempo modulates significantly throughout “Stomach Coil,” it doesn’t destroy the cohesiveness of the music it’s supporting. The subtle contrast between the guitar and bass parts creates an atmosphere of surrealism that matches up really well with the enigmatic lyrics, which when coupled with the slightly erratic shifts in tempo inspires chills akin to those you would get from an amusement park thrill ride. It almost bears a resemblance to jazz fusion in a strange sense; there’s all this chaos transpiring, but it’s beautifully controlled under the command of a lone fleeting melody that we never want to end.

A blistering guitar solo punctuates the fever pitch of the song with a bit of arena rock fireworks, but in no way does it ever become overindulgent or self-serving. Ruben himself shows off some really spirited fretwork here, but even at its climax it never overshadows the contributions from his fellow players. As much as the moniker might imply differently, The Chris Ruben Band strikes me as much more of a collective effort than a straight up solo project meant to center on Chris Ruben and Chris Ruben alone. There’s too much selflessness in this performance for that to be the case.

Big riffs and burning leads aren’t the only reason to give “Stomach Coil” a spin, but for newcomers to The Chris Ruben Band’s sound in particular, they’ll likely be enough to keep you coming back for more. A wonderful addition to the group’s growing discography, “Stomach Coil” appeals to listeners carnally just as much as it does from a more urbane, highbrow level, which isn’t exactly a commonality in today’s incredibly defined music scene. Another hit in what has been a year of really big wins for the up and comers, I doubt this won’t be the last we hear from this Farmingville-based rock n’ roll outfit.

John McCall

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