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The Sounds: Crossing The Rubicon (Album Review)

Crossing the Rubicon - www.whysoblu.comAs promised, we are keeping it rockin’ and rollin’ with our flashback coverage of the entire Sounds catalog. We’ve already covered their latest release Weekend (HERE) and their first two albums, Living in America (HERE) and Dying To Say This To You (HERE). Part three of our flashback series brings us to the band’s third album entitled: Crossing The Rubicon. This should be an interesting read, mainly due to me not even having any awareness about the album, which was released in 2009. There’s a blank spot there in my memory banks. Crossing The Rubicon slipped under my radar but I’m here to rectify that. Shall I pour you a drink? 

The Sounds - Crossing the Rubicon - www.whysoblu.com

Album  

After three years of touring in support of their second release, Dying To Say This To You, The Sounds regrouped to write and record their third album called Crossing The RubiconAs I teased before, I had no idea that there was a new album by The Sounds during this time period even though I was still listening to some of the tracks from the first two albums along with watching some of the music videos. Even now when I try to remember what I was doing during that time it’s all a blur to me.

Crossing The Rubicon would technically be the first record where the writing and musical direction were taken up a notch. I would say that it’s the band’s most experimental album using various musical techniques. I get a movie score type of vibe whenever I listen to it – it’s almost a soundtrack album in that regard. I will be honest and say that when I first started listening to album I was not all that impressed with it. Then again, my situation is different, because the first album of theirs that I ever listened to in its entirety was Something To Die For, which we will talk about in our final flashback review this week.

Some of the tracks on Crossing The Rubicon are very beautiful and very haunting, because the songs can be interpreted in many different ways, and in my case, months after I’ve listened to them, their meanings have changed. One of my favorite songs off of Crossing The Rubicon is My Lover. When you first listen to it it has this awesome driving bass beat to the song and Maja speed sings the track and during the chorus it sounds like she’s saying “be my lover,” when in fact, she’s saying “beat my lover.” It’s about a mother who wants to beat her daughter’s lover to death. At several points during the song you get the impression that it isn’t the first time that the mother has beaten one of her daughter’s lovers to death and that they have to dispose of the body. See, that’s one of MY interpretations of the song. Yours will most surely differ as mine keeps on changing with various listens. Other standout tracks include Beatbox, which I consider to be the sequel to Tony The Beat from the previous record. Dorchester Hotel is another awesome track with great lyrics that may mean different things to different people. In fact, Crossing The Rubicon is the first album where certain songs interweave with tracks from earlier releases. This theme would also continue into their most recent releases.

Crossing The Rubicon - www.whysoblu.com

I mention the score/soundtrack album aspect of Crossing The Rubicon, because when you pop in the album it hits the ground running and doesn’t let up until we get to the middle section of the record. When the title track hits – it comes off more like a ‘cool down’ from everything that came before it and the rest of the record plays out in a lower groove. There’s nothing wrong with that structure at all but be prepared for a mellower ending to the album.

At this point I should also mention that former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, who had previously worked with the band on Dying To Say This To You, came back to work with the band on a couple of tracks in a producer’s capacity and also contributed to a couple of tracks in a writer’s capacity, as well. I teased in the previous review that the band was also free from the “bondage” of a major record label. The Sounds started up their own label and they would license their music to various labels around the world all the while retaining complete creative control of their music catalog.

The Sounds combined abstract lyrics and ethereal textures to make Crossing The Rubicon their most “experimental” album to date. It also didn’t hurt to have been supported by very talented producers and engineers neither. Additionally, this is where the band really hit their stride and cemented their reputation as the new “Blondie.” Hell, even Maja was looking like a modern day Debbie Harry, with her feathered hair, tube top, shorts, and high heels. Maja rocked it hard! 🙂

See, just writing about Crossing The Rubicon makes me want to spin my vinyl copy, so that I can reinterpret and misinterpret some more lyrics! It’s a grand thing when an artist and their craft take hold like this. We’ve got one more flashback review coming up in the next couple of days, which will complete our quadrilogy retrospective, so I hope you come back for that.

Crossing the Rubicon - www.whysoblu.com

 

Track Listing

No One Sleeps When I’m Awake

4 Songs & a Fight

My Lover

Dorchester Hotel

Beatbox

Underground

Crossing the Rubicon

Midnight Sun

Lost In Love

The Only Ones

Home Is Where Your Heart Is

Goodnight Freddy

 

 

Order Crossing the Rubicon via Digital Download!

Crossing the Rubicon - www.whysoblu.com

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

2 Responses to “The Sounds: Crossing The Rubicon (Album Review)”


  1. Aaron

    Great review. The series of reviews has been a great ride. I think “Midnight Sun” off of this album is my favorite Sounds track, heck – one of my favorite songs period. I always come back to it.

    As a side note as you missed this LP – around the same time another band from Sweden, Versant, released what I tend to think is the best EP I’ve ever heard. It has Carah Faye from Shiny Toy Guns on vocals and the main producer is Daniel Johansson (he produced the title track on this Sounds album). Worth checking out.

  2. Gerard Iribe

    Midnight Sun is a great track and I also like the acoustic version. I will track down Versant and give them a spin. I’m always up for new musical discoveries. Thanks for posting, Aaron!