Worlds collide for this week’s release as the unlikely combo of The Rubens and Vic Mensa collaborate for “Falling Asleep At The Wheel”. Written by the Rubens earlier this year in LA, the band strove to push their limits out of rock. By pure luck, Mensa’s guitarist got a hold of the demo and spun the track for the Chicago native. A few days later, lead singer Sam Margin was in Mensa’s Silver Lake studio in LA, creating one of the most surprising tracks of the year.
Premiered at Splendour in the Grass 2019, “Falling Asleep At The Wheel” is a far cry from the Rubens’ rock sound. It is a forlorn love song that evokes an emotional malaise and apathy. The lyrics, about recklessness in the blind face of love, are delivered slow and relaxed, playing into this emotional tone. However, Elliot still turns up the heat, particularly in the line “you got me doing 95, in a 45”. There is a lowdown electronica sound that lends itself perfectly to Mensa’s hip/hop stylings. While each member of the Rubens gets a chance to shine, with the full rock band instrumentation making it onto the track, everything is produced to have a more digital feel. The bass is bouncy, working in compliment to the simple looped drum, which features a tight and woody sounding pad. This gives the track both a relaxed and dynamic rhythm, creating a chill but danceable beat. The keys and guitar are soft and melodically bright, with a heavy amount of reverb to create this electronica sound. There are some great layers in the high end, such as swooping digital bends and descending harmonies. However, the Rubens still use their rock background to great effect, specifically in the overdriven guitar that comes in before Mensa’s verse. On that verse, it comes at the right time, breaking what would’ve become a monotony to give the track some energy, building into the final chorus.
The song comes with a special live video, recorded at the debut Splendour performance. Mensa made it on stage via LED screen, which can be seen in the psychedelic music video that shifts and pulses to the beat. The live video is just as much a part of the listening experience as the song itself. Check it out below.
Upcoming Tour Dates
Thursday 25 July | Rafters – CSU, Bathurst, NSW
Friday 26 July | The Garden Hotel, Dubbo, NSW
Saturday 27 July | Young Services Club, Young, NSW
Thursday 1 August | Entrance Leagues Club, Central Coast, NSW
Friday 2 August | Narrabeen RSL, Narrabeen, NSW
Thursday 8 August | CSU University, Wagga Wagga, NSW
Friday 9 August | Moruya Waterfront, Moruya, NSW
Saturday 10 August | Astor Hotel, Goulburn, NSW
Saturday 17 August | Crooked River Winery, Gerringong, NSW