THE JACK RUBIES (London, England and abroad)
Big Stir Records is proud to announce the invigorating return of English C86 and postpunk survivors THE JACK RUBIES. Three decades on from their last release on TVT Records, the Rubies have reformed with their original lineup and every bit of their bewitchingly jagged sound intact. Having relaunched themselves with a series of indie singles, the band joins the Big Stir Records roster with a new single, “Poltergeist”, ahead of their third full-length album set for release in early 2024. It's an astonishingly fresh record that takes listeners back to a time before corporate grunge and commercialized pop punk, when darkness, humor and hooks co-mingled in the vital and daring sounds of college rock that could and should have conquered the airwaves. THE JACK RUBIES, then and now, distill those possibilities like few others.
Emerging from the UK’s C86 scene, The Jack Rubies formed in East London, England with an edgy, melodic, noir-tinged sound sometimes likened to Bowie, Nick Cave and Serge Gainsbourg. In the febrile, oppressive climate of ‘80s Britain, a Thatcher-fatigued young generation responded with a flurry of indie activity -- championing outsider art events, surreal stand-up, poetry rants and a bumper crop of new bands. With Ian Wright on lead vocals and guitar, SD Ineson on backing vocals and guitar, bassist Steve Brockway, percussionist Lawrence Giltnane, and Peter Maxted on drums, the Rubies quickly found themselves playing out regularly at alternative London venues and garnering a rapturous response from the often-jaded British music press. A run of acclaimed indie singles followed, and the band became fixtures on the college circuit and guests of The Blow Monkeys, Katrina & the Waves and The Triffids among others on nationwide tours across the UK.
By the late ‘80s, The Jack Rubies had caught the attention of the US, signing with New York’s TVT Records. Fascinatin’ Vacation (1988) compiled the British singles into a full album for the US market. The rolling drums and knowingly dark lyrics of the lead single “Be With You” hooked US college radio and the video became a favorite on MTV’s 120 Minutes. With the release of the second album See the Money in My Smile (1990), the group toured extensively throughout America, often appearing with They Might Be Giants and Modern English. By the early ‘90s, the group had come to an impasse: acid house and grunge had become the dominant forces in music, and neither style chimed with the Rubies. The group disbanded to consider other options.
Dispersing to locations as far-flung as North Carolina and New York City, the individual Rubies remained musically engaged as elements of their scene's signature sound regained ever more cultural currency (think Interpol or Franz Ferdinand). Perhaps appropriately, it wasn't until the dark times of the COVID-19 pandemic that all five members felt compelled to begin experimenting with their old chemistry, having scant expectations that the results would be as bracingly “now” as they proved to be. After decades of silence, The Jack Rubies are back, and their new material is perhaps even more vital than ever. The brand new album Clocks Are Out Of Time will see release in early 2024 on Big Stir Records. Once described as uglier than The Stones, the slightly sinister Jack Rubies are, as ever, a mercurial delight, an utter delicacy... and one now to be savored in a new century.
For more on THE JACK RUBIES, see: