Don’t make the mistake of confusing Rubella’s stalker rock with its more innocent-sounding cousin, slacker rock. For while both share an affinity for blaring guitars, good-enough tuning, and drums which may or may not have been recorded while the kit was tumbling down a stair case, there’s something much more sinister at work here on “Dray Horse.” The vocals aren’t delivered in a gee-aw-shucks manner of a Stephen Malkmus or shouted with earnestness like a young Mac McCaughan. No, they’re sneered. And the vibe isn’t the can’t be bothered sort associated with slackers, but more of an, “I’m gonna keep bothering you,” sort. Yet, for all the differences between the slackers and the stalkers, they do share one thing in common — An obscure sense of melody. This one picks up around the one-minute mark with a ragged and rickety guitar solo, one which was recorded about ten times too loud, and one which could have come from Athens, Stockton, or Chapel Hill back in the day.  There’s also a surprisingly hummable verse, which when you think about it, shouldn’t be so surprising.  After all, that’s how those stalkers, and these Cleveland rockers, rope you in — With a touch of sweetness and innocence to dull your instincts.

MP3: Rubella – Dray Horse

Rubella’s Stalker Rock is out now on Van Gogh Round Records.

Van Gogh Round Records