HAREM SCAREM (as Rubber) – Ultra Feel [Wounded Bird Records reissue]
With the recent HAREM SCAREM ‘The Ultimate Collection’, some of you asked for the band 2 albums released under the name RUBBER.
“Ultra Feel” is their second album using this moniker, here in the Wounded Bird Records reissue version with their usual quality sound.
Sonically, Rubber’s sophomore record`”Ultra Feel” sounds like a successful sequel to the first album; modern melodic rock with a radio-ready approach. While the songwriting is potentially a bit stronger this time, it’s an album very much in the same vein as the first.
However it will probably always be remembered as the album that destroyed Rubber.
After Rubber’s self-titled debut of radio-ready guitar driven modern melodic rock came out, all the band bios and press indicated that they were a new band. Not at all; Rubber was none other than Harem Scarem, a Canadian melodic rock band who had renamed themselves and refashioned their image as a bid for mainstream success.
While it worked for the first album generating a Canadian Top 20 single in “Sunshine,” nothing off this album rocketed up the charts immediately after its original 2001 release. Because of that, the band quickly changed their name back to Harem Scarem, effectively abandoning the Rubber moniker.
That strange history does overshadow (or potentially enhance) the music, as listeners may feel that Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance were merely running them through a genre exercise.
It’s disappointing, actually, as the music on here is really quite good: anthemic songs like “Happiness” and “Forgive” are primed for radio play, while the multi-layered vocal arrangements on “Running Away” are very sophisticated, akin the band’s first albums.
Even when they don’t write their own material, they pick the right stuff to record, as evidenced from the cover of the Squeeze classic, “Another Nail for My Heart,” that opens this album.
It’s true that Harem Scarem fans may (understandably) denounce this period as a farce, but for fans of hooky power pop-rock / modern melodic rock with a fair amount of production sheen, the Rubber project — especially this “Ultra Feel” — was the real thing.
01 – Spinning Around
02 – Forgive
03 – Over The Edge
04 – Happiness
05 – Hopeless
06 – In The End
07 – Draggin Me Down
08 – Everything You Do
09 – No Doubt
10 – Running Away
11 – Another Nail For My Heart (Bonus Track)
Harry Hess – lead vocals, guitar, keyboards
Pete Lesperance – lead guitar, vocals, keyboards
Barry Donaghy – bass guitar, vocals
Creighton Doane – drums
BUY IT !