Reuben and the Dark have long nurtured a bond with its audience that transcends the power of human communion with music as the chosen vehicle. Today, the spirited folk-rock outfit announces its fourth album, ‘In Lieu of Light,’ a collection of songs as bare and unguarded as any frontman Reuben Bullock has offered before.
Recalling the spontaneity of the band’s resounding 2013 arrival ‘Funeral Sky,’ the eleven songs of ‘In Lieu of Light’ are both humble and vast, flourishing from the simplicity of gentle piano and guitar – at times favoring the delicate frame of its intimacy, at others conceding to the anthems in its melodies. It is honest heart-based music, wide open yet lonesome, and begging connection.
“This album had no expectations put on it, it felt very free of form in any creative way. It is a snapshot of songs I was writing at a particular time, when recording them felt like a necessary letting go,” recounts Reuben. “There was a magic to that experimentation that felt natural to me.”
‘In Lieu of Light’ was recorded throughout 2021 when at times for many the world seemed at an excruciating standstill. Reuben’s pensive lyrics, always known for their environmental resonance, turn more inward here. There is an element of personal, deeply relatable soul-searching at play, perseverance through darkness, grief, escapism, and a subtle celebration of this despair that we have all confronted.
From the hymnal meditation of ‘Read Your Mind’ to the wayfinding reflections of ‘Traveler of Swords,’ ‘In Lieu of Light’ is at once Reuben and the Dark’s most varied yet most unified album to date. Bullock’s commitment to a more relaxed mode of songwriting removed one of the few remaining barriers between the band and its inextricably devoted audience. The cumulative, exultant power of his songs, be it shared joy or shared sadness, elevates the experience of ‘In Lieu of Light’ to a heightened level.
Recorded by Graham Lessard in Calgary at OCL Studios, Brock Geiger at Reuben’s home studio in Joshua Tree, and Joel Shearer in Los Angeles, ‘In Lieu of Light’ finds Reuben in harmony with the studio as his instrument, and the band with its intuition and embellishments. In addition to songs from the recently released ‘Coming Like A Storm’ EP, ‘In Lieu of Light’ includes collaboration with the Kainai-Bloodtribe Bullhorn Singers, who have been sharing the stage with Reuben and the Dark on recent performances.
‘In Lieu of Light’ tracklist:
01. One Two Three
04. Timelapse Clouds
05. Traveler of Swords
06. Read Your Mind
07. All My Friends
09. Skin and Bone
10. Coming Like a Storm
11. Little Sunrise