It is understood that if one crosses the Rubicon, it means that one does something that leads to rather important and unchangeable results. That being the case, Rubicon Cross front man CJ Snare and his band mates—Simon Farmery (bass), Chris Green (lead guitar), Robert Behnke (drums), and Jeff Lerman (guitar)—chose the perfect name for their band. The reason for that is that the band has released in its self-titled debut a record that completely breaks the mold of what seems to be the standard in the rock world today. The record brings back the sound and attitude of the era without all of the big hair, spandex, and makeup. Right from the album’s opener, ‘Locked & Loaded,’ the band transports audiences back to the golden days of huge arena rock shows. And the album’s new single ‘Bleed With Me’ boasts all the power of more modern hard rock bands without the crunching, down-tuned guitars and indecipherable growls of the bands that dominate so much of today’s rock world. Add in a positive lyrical message, and it proves to be one of the album’s best pieces. Perhaps most surprising of all is the album’s punk rock style closer. This piece stands out in stark yet successful contrast to the bombastic, old school rock and roll sounds exhibited throughout the album. It in turn makes for an interesting final statement from the band proving once more why Rubicon Cross’ self-titled debut is not just the best new rock record of 2014 so far, but the best independently released record of the year so far and even one of the best overall records of the year so far.
Rubicon Cross resurrects on its self-titled debut record, all of the sound and attitude of rock music from the late 1980s and early 1990s. It does so without all of the big hair, spandex, and makeup that were so prominent in those days. The end result is an album that fans of that era’s music will enjoy just as much as today’s younger audiences. The band exhibits that sound and attitude right off the top in the album’s opener ‘Locked and Loaded.’ The band wastes no time getting its audiences’ attention on this song thanks to guitarists Chris Green and Jeff Lerman. The pair instantly kicks the song into high gear and never looks back as it is joined by the pairing of drummer Robert Behnke and Simon Farmery. The musicians drive the song forward without fail as vocalist CJ Snare sings, “Make way for the good times/Tonight we’re turnin’ on the heat/Stand up and shout/You love it loud/Everybody get on your feet/Gonna tear the roof off/Somebody scream/Ignition sequence ready to blow/Can’t hold back/I’m about to explode/Here we go/Here we go/We’re locked and loaded. The lyrics alone present such energy. That energy alongside the energy exuded by the song’s musical side makes this piece one heck of a 1-2 punch to open the album. It also makes the song quite the first impression for the band.
The members of Rubicon Cross don’t let up after the album’s opener. The band collectively keeps that energy established on that song in its new single ‘Bleed With Me.’ The song, which comes across as being thematically about the bond of friendship and the loyalty built by that bond, is a full throttle fist pumper that is another piece perfect for a live setting. Snare sings on this song, “Save me from myself/I can’t make it on my own/Come join the fight/And together we’ll be strong/Best of friends/True champions/Will take on any challenge/A special breed/We’re born to lead/This blood is our alliance/Self-sacrifice is the price/Lay down your life and/Bleed with me/I will guarantee/If you stand with me/You’ll forever be my brother/Side by side/We live or die/For honor and for pride/Tonight/Come on and bleed with me.” Guitarist Chris Green’s solo in the song’s bridge is just as impressive as the solos churned out by any of his fellow guitarists. And drummer Robert Behnke keeps the song driving alongside secondary guitarist Jeff Lerman. That energy and the song’s positive vibe collectively make ‘Bleed With Me’ just one more of so many examples of why Rubicon Cross’ self-titled debut is a record that any fan of true rock and roll should hear at least once.
‘Bleed With Me’ and ‘Locked & Loaded’ are both prime examples of why this indie rock album is just as impressive as any album released via a major name label. The album’s closer is one more example of that argument. The song, ‘All The Little Things’ is a surprise in that it is more punk oriented than rock or even hard rock. Even more interesting about the song is that it even follows the standard pop punk formula both musically and lyrically. Snare sings on the song of a breakup between two people in the genre’s semi-playful style. He sings in the song’s closing verse, “All the little things add up to the ending/’Til you just can’t take it anymore/Pack up your s#!^ and just walk straight/Right through that door/Where did it all go wrong/I guess it wasn’t just one thing/It’s all the little things.” That verse pretty much sums up the whole song. It would have been easy for the song to take a wholly different vibe and stayed more in the hard rock arena that the band had built throughout the rest of the album. But it’s actually a good thing that the band chose such a road for the album’s closer. It’s a good thing in that as a final statement, it shows the band’s versatility. That versatility gives hope that this album won’t just be another one-off project from a group of veteran musicians. Even if it does turn out to be that (again hopefully it won’t), audiences will agree that Rubicon Cross’ self-titled debut is one of the best new rock records of the year, as well as one of the year’s best new indie albums and best new albums overall.
Rubicon Cross currently has no tour dates scheduled. But audiences can still get the band’s debut album. Audiences can order the band’s debut album through its website at Rubicon Cross Official Site. More information on Rubicon Cross including tour updates and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/rubiconcrossband and http://www.rubiconcross.net. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.