Though this is numbered as the first release on Rubric Records, it’s a retroactive numbering scheme, as this upstart label has a good fifteen or so releases to its name. Overall, there is no such thing as a “Rubric sound,” though things tend more towards the rough-and-tumble side. There is a definite pattern to the sequencing, which starts out with the all-out psych-rock of the Alchemysts and Bevis Frond, slowly mellows out with the Green Pajamas, the somewhat XTC-like Lucky Bishops, then shows some folkie tendencies with Adrian Shaw, and Mary Lou Lord (a cover of Richard Thompson’s “From Galway to Graceland”).
At this point things start to get really interesting. Bo Ramsey’s “Poor Backslider” is heart-wrenching country-like, and the Jimmy Nations Combo’s “New City Rock” is a bit of swingabilly. The Raging Teens’ “Stayed Out Late” is a quarter-stick of dynamite, a minute and a half of breakneck rockabilly, with classic boy/girl vocals. Other highlights on the record include Very Ape’s “Back in the EEC,” ’70s rock as only the Swedish can craft, the Barnyard Playboy’s lethal “Breaker 1-9” and the closing math rock of Wharton Tiers, Hippopotamus, Black Helicopter and others. Rubric may not have a definite genre to exploit, but it does seem to have a high standard for acts; worth investigating.