Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Party of Two
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
First time on CD for this 1983 EP, now featuring six bonus tracks! After their late ?70s success as an indie Power Pop band, the Rubinoos finally signed to a major label (Warner Brothers) and released Party Of Two. Origin... more »
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First time on CD for this 1983 EP, now featuring six bonus tracks! After their late ?70s success as an indie Power Pop band, the Rubinoos finally signed to a major label (Warner Brothers) and released Party Of Two. Original Rubes members Jon Rubin and Tommy Dunbar are joined by all four members of Utopia (Kasim Sulton, Roger Powell, Willie Wilcox and producer Todd Rundgren) and scored an MTV hit with 'If I Had You Back'.
Todd Rundgren mishandles pop band's third release
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 12/14/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Berkeley, Calfornia based Rubinoos produced two of the best pure pop albums of the mid-70s (1977's "The Rubinoos" and 1978's "Back to the Drawing Board," both recently collected on the box set "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About The Rubinoos"). But despite chart action for their cover version of Tommy James' "I Think We're Alone Now," (and a killer follow-up single, "I Want to Be Your Boyfriend," that was stillborn by a distributor's bankruptcy), they never achieved the level of commercial success their music deserved.
By the early '80s they'd grown dissatisfied with their label's lack of promotion, and bassist Royse Ader left the fold. Al Chan filled the bass and vocal slots, and even with some terrific demos for a projected third album (eventually released as "The Basement Tapes"), they couldn't get anything going. An A&R contact lured vocalist Jon Rubin and guitarist/songwriter Tommy Dunbar to Los Angeles, where in 1982 they found themselves in the studio with Todd Rundgren producing. Rundgren used members of his own Utopia to back Rubin and Dunbar, and while the resulting EP might have been a good idea for Utopia, it wasn't so hot for the Rubinoos. Neither Dunbar's songs nor Rubin's voice were a good fit for Utopia's playing or Rundgren's studio sound.
Reinventing the Rubinoos with synthesizers and programmed drums, Rundgren's choices simply didn't fit the band's vibe. The buzzy, swirly production masked the innocence of the Rubinoos radio pop, and the new wave keyboards began aging poorly from the minute they were laid down. Comparing the demo version of "The Girl" (included here as a bonus track) to the finished product, one finds the former invigoratingly full of the dazzling sensations of first love, while Rundgren's slower-tempo take dissipated the song's urgency. Trading Dunbar's guitar for keyboards poached from MTV circa 1983 didn't help. Rundgren didn't get it, and one wonders why he was in the studio with this band.
Rubinoos completists may want to hear this chapter in the band's history, but those looking for pure power-pop and bubblegum thrills are recommended to their first two albums ("Rubinoos" and "Back to the Drawing Board"), recently reissued individually in Japan (with bonus tracks!), and as part of the fantastic box set "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Rubinoos." The box also includes demo tracks from their unreleased third album, and selections from their more recent releases. Original EP: 2-1/2 stars, bonus demo tracks: 3-1/2 stars. [©2007 hyperbolium dot com]"