Following 2014’s “Survival Sounds” LP, Brooklyn indie-pop ensemble Rubblebucket finally grace us with a four-song EP, “If U C My Enemies” released on January 20th.
The band is no stranger to the indie dance scene, pumping out eclectic, upbeat and catchy tunes for nearly a decade now.
“If U C My Enemies” really brings together the creative and instrumental talents of the group. Lead singer Kalmia Traver provides crisp vocals that modulate between synth-induced dreaminess and the frantic energy reminiscent of the high school pop ballads of the ’80s.
Her longtime creative partner Alex Toth does a good job of providing background vocals and instrumental accompaniment. Traver, Toth and most of the members perform two or three different functions in the band’s sound, whether it’s vocals, keyboard, brass or bass.
A fusion of the best elements of pop, dance, jazz and soul are what make Rubblebucket stand out on this EP and in the indie scene in general. And with a revolving lineup of members with a diverse array of musical proficiencies, there is never a moment without energy in their work.
The lead single “Donna” reverberates with groovy melodies layered with plenty of horns. Even the name of the song harkens back to the pop past of the ’70s and ’80s, a love ballad to a high school sweetheart infused with psychedelic funk. The infectious brass can be attributed to the band’s incorporation of trumpet, saxophone and trombone, making the pop ensemble something of a new-age jazz group.
The funky brass layers continue the energy of the EP with the title track “If U C My Enemies,” which bursts with dance-y pop lyrics and irresistible bass. Traver’s hauntingly distorted vocals couple nicely with thick brass beats and layers of keyboard synth.
The lyrics imply a willingness to mend broken relationships. “If you see my enemies / tell ’em I stand corrected / tell ’em I want to be friends again,” Traver sings, but the flippant delivery of the lines implies a casual acceptance of personal mistakes or perhaps a marked disingenuousness.
In “Not Cut Out For This,” the EP slows down, showcasing some of the band’s more ambient instrumentality, including a heavy use of synth and distorted lyrics.
“Forlornification” really applies all of these dissident musical elements and brings the EP to an explosive conclusion. “You’re the reason, / you’re the answer, / just dance now,” sings Traver, leaving the listener with one final joyous command. “No more forlornification,” she sings, pleading with us to embody the optimistic, frenetic energy that is Rubblebucket’s latest EP.
And it’s hard not to dance to this EP, whether you draw energy from the pumping brass beats or melodic pop lyrics. There is a little bit of everything dance-worthy crammed into these songs, leaving the listener a little breathless at the end and with a much needed sense of levity.
Even when tackling issues of romance with an emphasis on personal introspection, the band never takes itself too seriously in its lyricism or musical performance. This is part of Rubblebucket’s appeal, and a reason they have so successfully carved out a place for themselves in the competitive indie music scene of Brooklyn.
Due to Rubblebucket’s diverse lineup and eclectic musicianship, the band performs great live. They just recently concluded a short tour of cities in the Northeast including shows in Providence at Fete Music Hall on Jan. 19 and Paradise Rock Club in Boston on Jan. 20.
For those of you looking for something brimming with energy and optimism, with an addicting blend of musical elements from pop, jazz, soul and more, “If U C My Enemies” is a must.