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The Jack Rubies - Clocks Are Out of Time (Big Stir)

16 February 2024

Making a jangly, ratchety noise in the late eighties, the Jack Rubies disbanded after the release of 1990’s See the Money in My Smile, one of the great lost albums of the period. Thirty-four years later, the band – consisting entirely of its original lineup – returns with the difficult third album. Clocks Are Out of Time picks up right where the last one left off; recording methods may have changed since then, but the band’s sound – ringing guitars, postpunk-tinged rhythms, snarky wit, Ian Wright’s sardonic singing voice, all usually brought to bear on doomed romance – is entirely unchanged. That’s hardly a problem, as the passage of time hasn’t prevented the quintet from firing on all cylinders. “Heaven Shook Me,” “I’ll Give You More,” and “Shark Attack” show off the band’s power pop side nicely, with catchy melodies and smart(ass) lyrics, while “Terrible Crime” adds a bluesy shuffle to the aesthetic and “Hark” goes full-on noise punk. Elsewhere, “Read My Mind” nods to the acid house shuffle that would supplant the band’s style of rock in the early nineties without actually indulging in it. The letter C serves the Rubies well here, as the shiny, atmospheric “Chandelier” and the darkly rocking “Corrupted” (which features the memorable line “Let’s just fuck for art”) take the Best in Show crown in tandem – both excellent examples of prime Rubyhood. The band may claim that Clocks Are Out of Time, but clearly the Jack Rubies aren’t.