Happily Ever Jaded by The TubsRelease date: November 8, 2017
Label: Consouling Agency
If the cover of Happily Ever Jaded, the new album by The Tubs, a band from Ghent in Belgium reminds you of imagery connected to Southern Rock / Americana albums, don’t wonder, that is exactly the image the band lead by singer Simon Platteau are trying to create. You see, and hopefully, you will hear, The Tubs do play their take on Americana music.
So what does Americana music have to do with Belgium, you might think? Exactly what it has to do with any part of the world where they have seen America mostly in the movies, but where Americana music has taken ‘roots’, so to say, among the many, or among the few. Actually, these Ghent boys might not exactly be an exception. Taking a brief train ride from Ghent to Antwerp, you would encounter Zita Swoon who was known to dabble in the genre too, but also names like Admiral Freebee and Pieter Van Dessel’s Marble Sounds, who make one or the other strand of Americana as if it was their own.
And basically, that is exactly what The Tubs do too. Taking the name, and possibly a cue from a short 2013 obscure musical movie of the same name, The Tubs continue the long line (time wise) that stretches from Neil Young, across the Eighties bands like The Green On Red and Rank & File, across the Nineties and their across the Belgian northern border neighbours in The Netherlands Hallo Venray, Canada’s very underrated The Sadies to today, when they could be compared to any band dabbling in the genre, including such currently popular names like The War On Drugs.
The moment the opener ‘Favourite Gun’ hits your ears with its almost piercing guitar lines and Platteau’s vocals, you become aware that The Tubs are not literary dabbling but has actually immersed themselves into the genre, practically making it their own. No waffles or chocolate in sight though. Fries dipped in mayonnaise, maybe. The overall sound is one of controlled abandon, dominated by some great guitar/pedal steel playing and Platteau’s Neil Young register vocals. No lazy sun or fake cowboy lyrics though, but often some very dark themes of abandonment, terror, and suicide. Still with a twist, “Sometimes I feel like killing everyone I know, then I’m happy with the sound of you” (the closer ‘The Sound of You’), or serious tongue in cheek, how’s a title like ‘Shakira 4 Belgium’. Still, there’s even a hint of a possible single that can do well, like the ‘Silly Girl’.
Actually, The Tubs and their Happily Ever Jaded made me take out all those Green on Red, Dan Stuart, Chris Cacavas, Chuck Prophet, Rank & File et al albums, and personally, that is a really good sign. Certainly worth more than a cursory listen.