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The Jack Rubies – Clocks Are Out Of Time (Big Stir Records)

I’d completely forgotten about The Jack Rubies. I saw them years ago supporting They Might Be Giants and they well and truly rocked. Then last month a mate of mine mentioned them, saying how much he loved their version of America‘s ‘A Horse With No Name‘ while we were having a coffee. Weirdly, at that moment I checked the emails on my phone, and lo and behold, there was one telling me that, not only were The Jack Rubies releasing their first album in over thirty years, but they were reissuing their old ones too! With that insane coincidence, I felt like I had to review this release. It seemed to be a happy twist of fate after all.

And what a splendid return it is. Sure, you could argue that they’re hardly pushing the envelope here with a new, exciting direction, but if you do, I’m going to unashamedly bring out the old “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” adage, because, let’s face it, if it’s lovingly crafted indie pop in the vein of The Triffids you’re after, with irresistible hooks, The Clocks Are Out Of Time might even be your album of the year. It’s a veritable treasure trove of irresistible pop with a killer bite.

Having said all that, it’s not a ‘Jack-Rubies-By-Numbers‘ situation at all, opener ‘Hark‘ quite menacing in its pulsating, ominous drive before the quite brilliant ‘Heaven Shoot Me‘ recalls the heady days of yore with a highly satisfying bent that reminds me a little of The The circa Soul Mining, and that can never be a bad thing.

The rhythm and blues-inflected ‘Terrible Crime‘ is something of a surprise, its gentle shuffle unexpected and effective, while the later ‘Shark Attack‘ effortlessly rolls back the years with a slow-burning melody that slaps you with its fins and eats you like plankton. And yes, I know that makes me sound a pretentious twat, but hey, I’m just saying what comes into my head as I listen for the umpteenth time, and for some reason that nonsense did…

No such concerns regarding the epic closing track ‘I’ll Give You More‘, triumphant and exuberant, with a slight nod, perhaps, to Wall Of Voodoo. But the thing is, with The Jack Rubies, although they do often bring to mind other artists such as Lloyd Cole or The Bunnymen at times, they still sound first and foremost, unequivocally, like The Jack Rubies – Clocks Are Out Of Time is a welcome explosion of peculiarity, and while it’s been way too long, after listening to it, I feel like I’ve been reacquainted with an old friend.

In terms of comeback albums, this is an absolute beast of a record.

Be sure to check out the two fabulous reissues by this band too, which came out last Friday. They’re one of those bands that should have been huge but somehow never were.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.