By Dylan Healy – Contributing Editor
A music box opens up Hartford musician Sean Rubin’s new record, Everybody Shares a Name — its melody punched by Rubin himself, carefully hand cranked and fed through. You can hear every click and creak, a detail deliberate and apt of the earthy artwork. Easing into the record with a delicate instrumental piece, Rubin lets the music speak for itself before casting into contemplation and questioning of fundamental truths.
Self-released by Rubin this past June, Everybody Shares a Name is the first glimpse of Rubin as a standalone artist. A member of seven-piece folk group Goodnight Blue Moon and CT indie-rock vets Ladyhips, it’s a rare and welcomed treat to hear Rubin so personal in the foreground. He demonstrates a knack for making auxiliary elements salient on mostly conventional song structures, such as cuckoo clocks and whirling gizmos on “Old Birds” and eerie sound collages on album highlight “By the Masses”.
Where breezier tracks like “Stubborn” and “Catch a Miracle” lean on earnest delivery of heartfelt vocals, Rubin ballasts the record with heavier tracks, like the Orwellian slow-burner “All in Working Order”. A powerful dip in dynamic, Rubin’s writing shines best when he sets aside some luster for grit.
Despite their subtlety, I find the micro-mechanized textures of ticking clocks and turning gears to be a crucial element of this record, acting both as percussion and a testament to Rubin’s meticulous attention to detail. With so many moving parts, well-oiled and hand-cranked, Everybody Shares a Name feels like an intricately constructed wind-up bird Rubin is testing the open air with.
“By the Masses” by Sean Rubin is a featured track on our CT Scramble 2018 Indie Rock Spotify Playlist: Stream Here
Listen to Everybody Shares a Name by Sean Rubin below.