SPOOKEY RUBEN - MECHANICAL ROYALTY
Spookey, back at the helm of good ship Ruben, delights us once again with his knack for colouring outside current musical trends: anchored by a seven-chapter prog rock epic located smack dab in the middle of the album, Mechanical Royalty skips merrily through the garden of musical genres, playing tribute to everything from Yacht Rock to death metal. But this is not Joke Rock à la Ween. Spookey consistently dishes up his excitement for music in his own special heartfelt way.
Tackling a genre forever riddled with ridicule, with its 12-keyboards-and-a-robe-with-a-30-ft-dragon-on-stage guise, Spookey, historically attracted to projects that absolutely don't fit in the hipster category, manages to surprise us once again with his latest pièce de résistance. MR is something Spookey had always wanted to do, and since Royalty falls into the category of all that you're "not supposed to do," says Spook ("like a 16-minute song that won't get on the radio"), he was naturally inclined.
"You can't help but recognize Spookey Ruben as eccentricity in its purest form." - allmusic guide
This new work is the culminating, tantalizing dish—the result of three and a half years of dragon slaying and never giving up, none of which could have been possible without the amazing contributions from a variety of musician friends, ranging from Ariel Pink to Alaina Beaton (Porcelain and the Tramps).
Mechanical Royalty (a pun, alluding not only to the album cover and storyline of the title track, but also to a music business term) is an intense 70s/80s rollercoaster ride, but it’s Spookey's point of view that makes it feel inviting and brand new. The album kicks off with ‘Cat and Mouse’ a retro-futuristic balls-to-the-wall 80s rock stomp complete with DX7 keyboard sounds and Shins-like vocal acrobatics. At the other end of the spectrum there’s death metal absurdo-freak out, ‘American Processed Cheese,’ a song title stumbled upon while re-interpreting the ‘American Idol’ logo. An example of how Spookey often tailors a song’s genre to its title, SR sees A.P.C. as S.O.D. (an old metal fave of his) crossed with Greg Ginn guitar theory. Spookey’s modus operandi revolves around his addiction to an important story or a song title then taking it to the limit, expressing its theme, no holds barred.
"Pop Fantasia Genius" - Mojo Magazine
Express from Spookey’s bedroom studio we have ‘Rachel,’ basically the 2009 incarnation of ‘Shauna’ from yesteryear (and from Spookey’s 2003 hit album, Breakfast). Poppy as fuck. It makes me think, who is this new girl Rachel, and where has Shauna gone? Is this the lost follow up single to ‘Never Ending Story’? Then there's a fresh nod to Facebook with 'Superpoke', an indie pop classic whose sax solo (Joseph Shabason) throws it into Joni Mitchell gear. Finally, the title track of the album is a 15 and a half minute epic tribute to prog rock & metal influences from Spookey's youth (Saga, Rush, Watchtower, Voivod…) In seven chapters it tells the story of a kingdom of robots who are attacked by humans because they possess a magnetic force; a code in the motherboard that keeps harmony in society. The humans who originally created the robots, now seek to get it back for themselves.
‘I recall Spookey saying if you love the Mechanical Royalty track you're probably a guy because girls don't like prog rock. After just one listen I was hooked. Guess that means I'm a dude.’ -Kathryn McBride
released June 28, 2009
Written and Produced by Spookey Ruben
cover art: Dave McCaig
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