With an album title like If U C My Enemies, one might assume we’d be in for songs of revenge and hard feelings. One could even look at the title quickly and think it’s supposed to look something like “I f— my enemies.” That is if one isn’t familiar with the very upbeat Rubblebucket. The title track asks that, if you see lead singer Kalmia Traver’s enemies, to tell them she stands corrected and wants to be friends again. This Brooklyn-based indie-dance group packs a lot of optimism and energy into the four tracks of their latest EP, making for a bubbly little approximately 19-minute dance party.
Rubblebucket clearly knows how to have fun and how to make people dance. There are big, clunky saxophone parts that almost get goofy on “Donna,” but it keeps the song from taking itself too seriously. “Not Cut Out for This” starts with ska-like trumpet and turns into a totally ‘80s synth and acoustic guitar song. It even has handclaps, it’s a perfect homage to the ‘80s. “Forlornification” is a great title and theme, and it’s also a funky, eclectic song with a guitar solo and chipmunk-style vocals. Singer Kalmia Traver has a voice that sounds powerful even when it’s breathy; it’s a voice with swagger.
As mentioned earlier, Rubblebucket is really positive. The optimistic lyrics include a love song to the (maybe imaginary) Donna, peacemaking on “If U C My Enemies,” and a call to action (to give up your ghosts and act on impulses) on “Forlornification.” The closest thing to negativity is “Not Cut Out for This,” where Traver warns that she’s not cut out for long-term love, but she could have fun and give solid advice in the short term. Positivity doesn’t equal vapid stupidity; the lyrics are clever, original, and quirky. When describing Traver’s country upbringing, she sings “I was raised with the cows and the birds and the toothless laughs.” Some brief lines tell longer stories, like “you’re the forest, I’m the jungle” on “Forlornification.” Traver describes herself in machine-like terms on “Not Cut Out for This” without having to specifically say she’s a emotionally cold robot (which is why she’s incapable of love;) Rubblebucket trusts their listeners to get where they’re going without beating them over the head with it.
Perhaps the best way to describe Rubblebucket’s bouncy sound is to explain that they asked if they could bring a confetti cannon to NPR for their Tiny Desk Concert (NPR had to say no.) With or without the confetti cannon, If U C My Enemies is a fun, bubbly, funky, horn-filled dance party that ends much too quickly.