Pure grit. That’s what comes to mind while listening to the rock track “Stomach Coil” from Farmingville, New York’s Chris Ruben Band. Combining all that is great about late 60s psychedelic guitar rock and punches of blues rock and funk, “Stomach Coil” is a standout track for any fans wanting to pad their musical library with raw and multi-layered musical arrangements.
I can’t help but bring up the fact that “Stomach Coil” reminds me a bit of a, well, Reuben sandwich. It’s got all the dressings that many independent rock bands seem to forget – the flavors! The Chris Ruben Band knows how to pack the punches, and vocally, Chris Ruben has a higher pitched delivery that actually combines with the seedy, darker tones in a good way. This works! At first I was trying to put my finger on it – does he sound like Sebastian Bach of Skid Row? Not quite. Does he sound like Chris Robertson of Black Stone Cherry? Not quite. Is this band a little like The Black Crowes meets Govt. Mule, meets Tedeschi Trucks Band? Yep, they are like all them combined. Chris Ruben is somewhere in that headspace. He’s the Thousand Island dressing that the band needs to deliver the goods. It’s tasty good.
Let’s get to the funk sounds too – “Stomach Coil” brings into play some really fresh keys/synth. Just as the song progresses, this huge wall of sound lifts up Ruben’s vocals. The guitars are murky and choppy, but the first phase of horns is very, very slight, but it’s there. Barely. The percussions really fall into place and shimmer around the echo-ing guitar. The reverb is punchy and pretty cool.
Lyrically, I loved the line “you know it’s not the first time you let it slide” and I felt a bit like, whoa, that’s a gut punch. The guitars really seem to be the leader of the pack and drove home a sense of angst and euphoria. It’s not a positive song – and it’s tough to pinpoint what exactly it’s about in my opinion, but fans of hard sounding guitars and bumbling bass guitars will groove to “Stomach Coil.” The song really wraps itself around you and gathers momentum at each listen. You could say it’s easy to digest this sandwich. Yeah, I went there again with the Reuben sandwich reference. It’s a satisfying ride and one that rock fans should take notice. It has the dark and the light going for it in its tones and delivery. It’s not too hard rock that you feel like you’re hitting your head against a wall, and it has the lightness of texture and personality-drenched vocals.
Overall, high marks for “Stomach Coil” and the Chris Ruben Band. This song could fit nicely on an AAA station and even better on a grand concert stage. Listening between the measures, there’s a sense of unity with the listener and a connection. It’s a package wrapped up in originality and virtuoso-level musicianship. You can’t buy that connection anywhere – not even your local deli.