Reuben and the Dark is the spirited folk-rock outfit led by Reuben Bullock, whose music blends introspective lyrics with the irrepressible pulse and complicit harmonies of his band. On the Calgary-bred frontman’s third studio album, un | love, Reuben opens a breathtakingly honest window into one of the most dramatic times in his life, baring the emotional depths encountered at life’s crossroads. Reuben and the Dark’s music is a heartrending yet free-spirited confrontation of that place, a spiritual meeting that Bullock conjures with his audience nightly, revealing more with each transformative performance. Rising from his painterly, ashen lyrics, dancing on a tightrope of exultation, is the beauty of catharsis: the crystallization of psychic resonance between band and audience, shared through music.
“The essence of it is songs that connect people to the intangibles of our collective emotions,” says Bullock. “Together we get carried away, lost and found in the alchemy of the music.”
Produced by Reuben and the Dark with Marcus Paquin (The National, Timber Timbre, Local Natives) and Kevin Drew (of Broken Social Scene), un | love mines this raw, unfettered emotion from within Bullock. The hard-wrought songs of Arms of a Dream (2018) and earthbound textures of Funeral Sky (2013) have become unshackled by spontaneity, with Reuben’s soulful voice emerging unbridled and fallible. On the new album, the bond with his band – core of Brock Geiger and Sam Harrison on guitars, Brendan “Dino” Soares on drums, Nathan Da Silva on bass – has unlocked the kinetic energy of songs like “rising,” refuting gravity on the soaring and anthemic “faultline,” and navigating hardship on the album closing “dancer.” With friendships dating back to early childhood, the band intuits the evolution of the songs, tapping into Reuben’s soul-searching intonations at the helm of each thrilling performance, each vibrational sing-along. Through his dense imagery, perhaps for the first time truly, shines a clear light, shot straight from Reuben’s heart – wide open, blown away, singing out, together untangling the pain.