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JACK RUBIES (Buy CDs by this artist)
Fascinatin' Vacation (TVT) 1989
See the Money in My Smile (TVT) 1990

Everyone views romance in their own way, but Ian Wright, the singer of London's Jack Rubies, has a very strange way of expressing affection. On the first song of the quintet's debut, he offers "to be hung, drawn and quartered" to "Be with You"; in "You're So Wild," after describing the "spontaneous combustion...in my heart," he admits to being "overcome...when you stuck out your tongue at that man." The band's unassuming acoustic/electric music — a pleasant pop style of no special character — isn't nearly as colorful, but does provides a hospitable enough atmosphere for the offbeat musings.

More diverse and complex arrangements on the Pat Collier-produced follow-up decrease the prominence of Wright's frank Lloyd Cole-ish vocals in favor of raising the band's overall personality profile. A substantial and thoughtful album, with bits of western country flavor, See the Money in My Smile could be the prelude to something great.

[Ira Robbins]