SEE BELOW TO ADD YOUR OWN REVIEW!
RUBBER
ULTRA FEEL

Warner Music Canada
Produced by: Hess & Lesperance

Released: Feb 21 & 27 / Website
Relatives: Marvelous 3, SR-71
GENRE: Modern Rock
OVERALL: 92%

  1. Another Nail In My Heart
  2. Hopeless
  3. In The End
  4. Running Away
  5. Spinning Around
  6. Happiness
  7. No Doubt
  8. Over The Edge
  9. Forgive
  10. Everything You Do

This is the second Rubber album, following quickly on the heels of their self titled debut last year.
It signaled the change of style of Harem Scarem's classic rock roots, to a new modern rock sound, in the vein on the new breed of melodic pop rockers SR-71, Neve, Marvelous 3, Everclear and even Matchbox 20.
The debut was a long way from the classic Scarem sound, but retained Harry and Pete's awesome grasp of a catchy tune and for those willing to take the step with them, was a rewarding and enjoyable record.
On Ultra Feel the guys make a small turn once again. The album is still firmly planted in modern rock and is as always expected, full of ultimately catchy rock songs, but there is a subtle difference.
This is a little closer to the classic sound of Harem Scarem.
No, it's not a return to the sound of any previous album as such, it's still most definitely a follow up to the Rubber debut, but there are hints of the rock anthem ways of the old band. Just check out Spinning Around and Happiness. Then play Forgive, easily one of the best songs of recent times and classic anthem rock, with a modern edge. Another Nail In My Heart leads off the Canadian version of this album. The Japanese version uses an alternative running order and drops this track in favor of another new song Draggin' Me Around. Another Nail has already been released in Japan - featured on their Japanese exclusive release Last Live.
If you haven't heard it - it's a cover of the Squeeze classic and is done perfectly in tune with the style of the band. Hook filled modern rock.
Hopeless is a wonderfully infectious rocker with a slightly harder edge than the modern pop rock angle the guys have chosen.
In The End is a Pete Lesperance sung track that mirrors the song Trip - his effort off Rubber's debut. It's one of the trendier cuts off the album.
Running Away is a cool slightly psychedelic ballad, with a slight Beatles influence and also similar to their track Everybody Else - just better!
Spinning Around takes up where Hopeless left off. Upbeat, rocking, catchy as hell and sees Harry Hess with one his most raw vocal efforts since Mood Swings - just with the modern rock musical backing of Rubber's style.
Happiness is another killer modern rocker, with Pete at the mike again. I like this better than any of his vocal tracks so far. It's catchy and typically hook filled.
No Doubt is a little different. The song is far more pop based - being a happy little feel good number with jangley guitars and a non confrontational drum sound and a moody-ish verse and a brighter chorus.
Over The Edge is a mid tempo, passionate modern rock ballad. The sound is not unfamiliar to those extra tracks added to Harem Scarem's Best Ballads compilation and could also feel at home on Big Bang Theory. Another great melodic anthem.
Then the knockout blow! Forgive is quite simply the best track the band have done in years. Catchy as hell from the first listen, this is the closest thing to the classic Harem Scarem sound the band have recorded. Easily at home on the band's last couple of album's, Harry sounds in great aggressive vocal form.
Everything You Do is another Pete Lesperance track and sees the guys finish the album with another uptempo pure modern pop rock track. Cool track again, but it's very hard to follow up the classic previous track.
And that's it - all over and done with inside just over 35 minutes! Despite the far too short length of the album, every moment is brilliant in it's quality of songwriting.
As for hooks - per ratio there are more per minute on Ultra Feel than on the Rubber debut and many other melodic rock releases out there. I will be interested in hearing the Japanese release. They have had a tendency to get the running order a little wrong, but as they open with the album's stronger tracks and add another new one, it might just be a better listen. I have that CD on order - stay tuned for the verdict!
BOTTOM LINE: Another classic album from two of the best songwriters of the melodic rock genre. Personal taste will dictate whether you care to venture into the modern rock scope, but if you liked the first Rubber album, this is even better with a little harder edge to it.
Similarly, if you are listening to Marvelous 3 or SR-71, Neve, Tsar or any of the new breed of rock n rollers, this album will sit easily along side them and could possibly be a favorite pick of the bunch.
PRODUCTION: 90% SONGS: 88% VIBE: 95%ATTITUDE: 85%
ESSENTIAL FOR: All fans of Rubber's debut and other modern rock fans. Many Harem Scarem fans.
DISCOGRAPHY:Harem Scarem; Harem Scarem - Last Live . Rubber . Ultra Feel


21/04/04: Ginger - stevanski@hotmail.com
Rating: 100
I spent a small fortune importing this cd from Japan and it was worth every last penny. This is quite simply modern melodic rock perfection!

16/03/01: Scott - u69sgb@mun.ca
Rating: 95
I am not suprised at the quality of song writing on this record. Nor am I suprised that once again they have changed their sound from the last album. No two albums by this band have ever been alike. I am a little suprised though that Pete sings on three of the tracks. But this is a good thing because his voice really suits this type of music.

Personally my favorite tracks are those sung by Harry, especially Hopeless, Spinning Around and Forgive. There is not one weak track on here. Running Away is a slower song that takes getting used to, but it fits very nicely in there. Everything I Do and Happiness are my favorite tracks sung by Pete.

If you like pop rock you will love this album. This is just great music- plain and simple. This band deserves more recognition in Canada and I hope with this album they will get the recognition they deserve.

08/03/01: Robert Stupay - rstupay@hotmail.com
Rating: 95
As a long time fan of Harem Scarem, I admit that I hated the idea of Harry Hess and Peter Lesperance abandoning a sound (and name) that made them melodic rock legends. However, when a band as talented as these guys makes music, call it what you want...it's always classy!

Ultra Feel is no different than any of the band's previous work in that regard. It's a smoothly produced, well written, classy piece of melodic pop/rock. I particularly enjoy Lesperance's vocal work on In the End and Happiness. However, the album's best tracks belong to Hess.

Hopeless, Forgive, and the sweet ballad Running Away are everything we (as AOR lovers) have come to love about the Hess/Lesperance team. Over The Edge is very reminiscent of Remember from the Ballads disc and Spinning Around features a furious vocal from Hess not heard since the Believe-era.

Overall, this is one of the best albums that Harry Hess and Peter Lesperance have ever released. Sure, it's called Rubber and it is a more mature/modern-styled rock album. But it is done so flawlessly here, it's impossible not to enjoy the melodies and range of the well crafted songs. They do a great job of blending the old with the new.

Anyone who thought Marvelous 3's ReadySexGo album was good, should pick this up as well. It is in that vein. Also fans of SR-71, Neve, Vertical Horizon, and open-minded HS fans should also check this out.

06/03/01: Mick - Mick_powell@ibis.com
Rating: 10
Well......thanks to Napster, I didn't have to wait for Absound to finally decide to ship my copy of Rubber Ultra Feel to hear it. I downloaded the entire album this weekend, and have had some time to digest it......although to be truthful...it didn't go down easy.
First off....I'll set the record straight....I LOVE older HS stuff..with VOR and Believe being my favorite albums.
The first Rubber album was simply terrible....a mix of styles that was not cohesive, and a guitar sound that sounded like the Beach Boys meets Joe Amateur.
My hopes were high for this effort for a number of reasons....figuring the last mess was just a phase, and they would snap out of it.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. This CD picks up where the last left off. Yes....in spots the guitar tone is slightly less annoying than the first Rubber album, and there is more continuity between tracks.....however....if you look at this CD for what it is....which isn't much......well......it's just pretty mundane and blah. How in the world do you take a guitarist like Pete and reduce him to this crap is beyond me. How in the world do you take one of the most unique voices in Harry and have him split time with Pete on lead vocal....Pete has an OK voice......but there are ZILLIONS of singers out there who sound like him......they are a dime a dozen! Harry is a cut above......Pete is avg......what gives????? But overall, my biggest complaint is the production. Ultra Feel is shrill and almost painful to listen to at times. The recordings lack warmth and character.....period! Listen to VOR or Believe.....it is hard to believe that those 2 albums were engineered and produced by the same guys!
Now getting to the music....Happiness and Forgive are marginally good tunes....other than that, there is nothing there! NO production values, no compelling musical content, and other than a few tasty bass lines here and there, the musicianship is lame.
I tried to talk myself into liking Rubber because I liked virtually every song Harem Scarem put out. However, this is "dumbing down" at its finest. This is insulting to me because I don't want to be spoon fed this crap and be told it is good for you! What happens next Harry? If this crap sinks to the bottom, will you start writing like the Backstreet Boys because it is more commercially viable? To me....Ultra Feel is just the completion of the sell out that began with the name change. Too bad!
Oh by the way......Pete Lesperance.....if you ever read this.....I would be interested in buying some of your guitar gear....cause it is obvious to me that you really don't need it anymore!!!

02/03/01: Greg - gregmanca@home.com
Rating: 95
A much stronger 2nd album for them- I have kept playing it and it seems to get better with every listen....Happiness and Forgive are classic Harem- I dont care what they call themselves they are still HS to me.....anyways I am not surprised that this album is better- they seem to get better with every release...I hope this gets them the recognition they deserve.........

24/02/01: The Sims - ssanti@tin.it
Rating: 97
Hi , you want to know what i think of Rubber 2nd album??

absolutely excellent, been a fan of Harem Scarem since

the start, i was little disappointed with Rubber 1st album

but then i realized that i like them but something was

missing ,that something is found finally on ULTRAFEEL album

everysong is a whole story but retaining the same elements,

which is great , my favorite track is HAPPINESS

PETE sings perfectly and the song have a mood that lift you

and let you go 3 weeks later, the rest of the songs are

awesome :

Another Nail for my heart is good

Helpless is an awesome melodic pop rock

In The End is hard to follow but great after some listen

Running Away is a universal highlight, FANTASTIC!!

Spinning around is rock n roll at best, but with melody :)

Happiness is the best song in centurys ,my favorite.

No doubt is in the vein of the 1st album with nice chorus

Over The Edge is my 2nd favorite ,could been included in BALLADS album.

Forgive is good ,but not like the review said ,similar to S/T album, melodic but not much

Everything you do ends the album and is a catchy song.

So ...

here it is my review, i listened many many times before writing
so take it seriously , if www.melodicrock.com gave the album 92%
i give it 97%, it really deserve more.

the only weak point as with any album that is great, is
that the songs are so varied that you can loose the count
of how many times you listened to this album,

and start wonder how in year 2001 something so good
happend to you. :)

buy the album and fly away ,no need to stay on the ground.

i'm RUNNING AWAY.

bye









ADD YOUR OWN REVIEW! (Ratings out of 100 please)

Name:

E-mail:

Rating:

Comment: