Sun kings

Reubens Accomplice

The best kept secret in Phoenix comes to San Antonio

For nearly a decade, the cryptically named Reubens Accomplice has been the best-kept secret of the Phoenix music scene. Routinely namechecked by musicians and clubgoers in the valley of the sun and inevitably asked to open for their compatriots, Jimmy Eat World, they've remained a regional indie-rock force while JEW has basically conquered MTV Nation.

It's a situation that Reubens' uniformly excellent sophomore album, The Bull, The Balloon, and the Family, is helping to rectify. Produced by Jimmy Eat World leader Jim Adkins (and released on his new Western Tread label), it's a remarkably rich, eclectic effort for a band that's spent most of its history being filed by followers in the "emo" category.

Chris Corak and Jeff Bufano have been playing together since their high-school days, and they've developed an idiosyncratic vocal approach, casually shifting from surging unison sections to choruses that explode with impossibly lush harmonies. Their mathematical guitar constructions have always shown a healthy appreciation for Fugazi, but have occasionally

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Reubens Accomplice
the Format, Steel Train, Limbeck and Hellogoodbye
Fri, Sep 24
The Sanctuary
1818 N. Main
concealed their considerable pop smarts. But from the banjo picking of "Underneath the Golden Grain" to the accordion that closes out "This Town," The Bull bursts out of speakers in full technicolor splendor, as if Corak and Bufano have, for the first time, been allowed to let their musical imaginations run untrammeled.

The sonic boldness contrasts nicely with the self-effacement of lyrics that poke holes in love-song clichés and pour water on any expectation of profundity. The group's tendency to dampen their own anthemic power with such eccentric twists will probably keep them out of arenas, but it's also an important source of their greatness. Gilbert Garcia


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