One step beyond
'In Nothing We Trust' is Reuben's third album and probably their most important release on several levels. After the success of 'Very Fast Very Dangerous' anticipation is high and with Reuben starting to make an impression on a wider audience (with appearances on the main stage at Download) this could be the album that cements their reputation as one of the UK's most original bands. There is a lot more riding on it for the band however with it being released on their own label (Hideous) and having ploughed significant resources into it's production.
Opening with 'Cities on Fire' the familiar elements are present straight away, a quiet intro giving way to big guitars and harsh vocals from Jamie. This has been a staple of the live set for the last year or so and I remain unconvinced by it; it's not a bad song but neither does it really grab my attention, unlike the following song, the superb 'We're All Going Home in an Ambulance'. This is classic Reuben, a great riff, driving rhythm and a good mix of clean and screamed vocals.
'Suffocation of the Soul' is something different for Reuben and shows how they have grown in confidence over the last couple of years. A dark and brooding song it features some atmospheric piano and although it breaks out into a more familiar raucous middle section the verse is something of a departure and weighing in at seven minutes is something of an epic. The variety continues with 'Deadly Lethal Ninja Assassin', which bears more than a passing resemblance to Beck in the verse and is infectiously catchy with the bizarre chorus of 'Your dressed like a Victorian at a swimming pool'!
Halfway through the album you really get the feeling that Reuben have matured significantly with this release, the trademark sound is still there but the songs seem to have more depth to them. Not afraid to go off at a tangent at any given moment really keeps the momentum flowing and you could never accuse them of reverting to type. 'Crushed Under the Weight of the Enormous Bullshit' has some great lyrics around how crap 80s indie music is but it's 'Good Luck' that really impresses. An acoustic number it features some impressive vocal harmonies with guest female vocals and adds another string to the bands bow that was further illustrated by their acoustic performance in the Nokia tent at Download.
The piano returns alongside a fat bassline on 'Agony/Agatha', which builds to a rousing ending before moving into the slightly more mainstream 'Three Hail Marys'.
'Blood, Bunny, Larkhall' is the first single from the album and also the shortest song at under three minutes. It's also one of the heaviest songs on the album with a pulverising riff and a significantly dark feel to it. It's not the catchiest song on offer here and not the most obvious choice for a single if you were looking for a radio friendly sound. Therein lies yet another mark of Reuben's confidence, they truly are doing their own thing and doing it their way and so far so good! Album closer 'A Short History of Nearly Everything' is another lengthy affair at five and a half minutes but rounds it all off nicely with a stop-start riff.
'In Nothing We Trust' is a good album sounding like the perfect progression for the band and by and large their experimentation with different song structures and sounds has worked well. As a whole though after numerous listens it doesn't have the same groove about it as 'Very Fast Very Dangerous' and there isn't really one track that sticks in the mind. Having said that though you do feel compelled to hit the replay button after every listen. Reuben have moved on and rightly so, they've retained more than enough of their sound to take older fans with them and with a careful choice of singles and more high profile live performances it would be no surprise to see them move up to larger venues on the back of this.