REVIEW: The Rubens' Live MTV Unplugged Melbourne Album Is A Complete Triumph
It’s been a long, illustrious seven or so years for The Rubens. From a bunch of brothers from Menangle, to Hottest 100 toppers to one of Australia’s biggest bands, it’s hard to believe that Sam, Zaac, Elliot, Scott and Will have managed to hit strength after strength in such a relatively short space of time. Their latest triumph comes in the form of their MTV Unplugged Melbourne performance, and now that exclusive night is being immortalised in an album. And it’s one that you simply must listen to.
The album feels like a timeline of the band’s progressions as both artists and songwriters, as they seamlessly perform a tightrope walk between the raw and the refined. Album opener ‘Go On’, originally appearing on the band’s 2018 LP Lo La Ru, is a chant-filled song that could easily boom at a stadium, but is given a new level of intimacy here. As it morphs into a stunning acoustic (ish) rendition of the band’s seminal hit ‘My Gun’, we see that The Rubens are really here to demonstrate how they can breathe new life into their impressive catalogue.
After all, breathing new life into music is what Unplugged is all about. The Rubens do it best once they introduce the strings in ‘The Best We Got’. “This is the main chunk of the set, we’re gonna have strings the whole time pretty much,” frontman Sam Margin utters.
“And this is what differentiates this from anything else anyone’s ever seen of us, and anything we’ve ever done.” Understanding the gravity of the performance, the boys truly kick things into another level. The stunning centrepiece of the set is their cover of Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus’ ‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’, with the help of the sultry vocals from Lauren Azar. They take the cinematic grandeur Ronson built the track with and delicately translated it to a theatre setting, making it a really hypnotising listen.
As the stunning albums nears it close, we get some beautiful renditions of some of the band’s biggest songs. You can feel the love pour out of Margin’s voice on ‘Lay It Down’ and even the vulnerability turned humour of the band when they mess up a note early on in ‘Hoops’ before starting again.
“I’m sorry everyone, and it was really bad so I had to stop playing.”
“DMA’s had to start again, Amy Shark didn’t even finish one song…Gang Of Youths – that lead guy wasn’t even fucking there. So just consider yourselves lucky.”
The album ends with the stomping and triumphant ‘God Forgot’ and it perfectly sums up the band’s stunning performance. It still had the complex layering, genius storytelling and booming sound we’ve come to expect from the band, but it also has undeniable charm, endearing rawness and a sense of comfort that makes you feel like you were there. The band have completely transported the listener to a magical evening that happened months ago, yet it still feels fresh, exciting and like they're right there in front of you. While this performance is months in the past, this album will stay with you long into the future.
The Rubens: MTV Unplugged Melbourne album is on sale today - head here to grab your copy!
Check Out All The 10s Who Went To The Rubens' MTV Unplugged Melbourne Gig...
Check Out All The 10s Who Went To The Rubens' MTV Unplugged Melbourne Gig
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Ben Jones & Eugene Canty6 of 22
Ben Jones & Eugene Canty7 of 22
Ben Jones & Eugene Canty8 of 22