Rubber | photo by Jamie Stow for WXPN
The Key Studio Sessions: Rubber
When Andrew Loper and John Della Franco met in 2017, they bonded over a shared love of gospel-fueled R&B and funk-driven pop grooves. They began writing songs together, recording them in their bedrooms, and posting them online. Two years later, and their band Rubber is at the point of burning up the basement party show scene that surrounds Temple University, and is poised to break beyond it.
A duo at its core, Rubber expands with additional players and instrumentation in the live setting, and this does wonders for their sound. While songs like the early single “Control” have a gauzey and tripped-out electropop vibe in their studio versions, the addition of feverish guitarist Denzil Lezenby and propulsive drummer Barbara Duncan — who join Rubber in this week’s Key Studio Session — give the songs a firm foothold, allowing them to race away on the dancefloor.
The centerpiece of the show, though, is Loper’s impeccable voice that glides nimbly across octaves, low to high and back again. In Rubber’s bio, Loper jokes about his obsession with nailing the perfect run, but he’s clearly serious as well — you hear it in his performance. Most importantly, the way he uses his voice doesn’t feel affected or contrived, but rather the product of somebody who sincerely loves this specific style of singing, and gives it his all.
Loper also acts as a narrator of his own songs in this performance, giving us a sense of their emotional underpinnings — the suave ballad “Won’t Come Back” is a self-care meditation on the importance of disconnecting and being present, while “Control” is a reflection on opening up and being vulnerable at the outset of a relationship. Add in the mix the sprinting sparks of the opening “Think Fast” and a re-invention of OutKast’s “Hey Ya,” and you’ve got a set that will make you have fun as much as it’ll make you feel.
On Friday, October 11th, Rubber releases its debut EP, and it will celebrate with a headlining concert at The Barbary with support from Mandala, Gabrielle Chapman & The Vortex, and Jacqueline Constance. Tickets and more information on the show can be found at its Facebook event page; below, watch Rubber perform “Think Fast” in XPN Studios, and listen to their Key Studio Session in full via Soundcloud.
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