RM Hubbert, or ‘Hubby’, hasn’t wasted any time since his previous LP Thirteen Lost & Found landed him with 2012’s Scottish Album of the Year Award. This achievement also means his new effort Breaks & Bone carries with it the weight of expectation - and it delivers.
Breaks & Bone contains elements of Thirteen Lost & Found, most notably the incredibly skillful classical guitar style and moments of unpredictability, but with what sounds like a distinctly flamenco-esque turn at times. Whatever you want to call this genre-defying album, there’s no denying it has moments of incredible beauty .
Instrumental tracks are mixed in with those only featuring Hubby’s voice (compared to the guest vocalists on Thirteen Lost & Found) and they work to great effect. The result is a collection of highly personal, dramatic and reflective songs which strike me more as a atmospheric soundtrack than songs of a more formulaic nature, but that’s what one would expect from Hubby.
Although Breaks & Bone flows more like a theme-driven soundtrack, it does contain some stand-out tracks. The lyrics from the second track Bolt seems to fit well with the title of the album, with its raw vulnerability, yet it remains oddly catchy. Another noteworthy track is Dec 11 with it’s whisper-like, but faster-paced vocals.
The album ends with the reflective Slights. It's theme of closure and moving onward strikes me as an excellent track with which to end the emotional journey. Overall, Breaks & Bone takes us from moments of sheer tranquility and light to dramatic darkness and then back again, but it’s worth the trip.
- Janet Feenstra
RM Hubbert - Breaks & Bone will be released by Chemikal Underground on 27 September 2013. You can pre-order the album here. Check out the stunning Dec 11 below.