Inspiration can strike anyone at any time, and more often than not from somewhat peculiar quarters. Rarely more so than when Sam Grant – thus far best known as guitarist and producer of Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – finally set about work on a solo project that had been pursuing him for some years. “It’s easier to describe it materialistically than by any other way.” he reasons “I want people to imagine that feeling of rubber – its physical memory, the unnatural vibe of it. It’s so tactile but alien, but also difficult not to know. It’s an odd analogy, but that’s what this music is for me.”A specific gravity is one more property that rubber has going for it, and that much is certainly true of Rubber Oh’s debut album Strange Craft, out 3rd June 2022 on Rocket Recordings. The result of his elasticated fixation, and his debut album of deliriously tuneful sci-fi tinged psych-pop. Mapping out a retro futuristic trajectory that stretches from the wide-eyed travails of the late-’60s through to the hard-edged mind expansions of the 21st century, this collection of warped interstellar voyages is intent on taking the scenic route across the cosmic continuum.
The project took shape initially in snatched hours around Grant’s regular job as studio engineer at Newcastle’s Blank Studios. Not content with completely revamping this facility over the pandemic period, Rubber Oh initially took shape as a means for pure indulgence on the part of its creator, in which he could set about scratching every itch that he’d been forced to discard when working for others.
Paradoxically, certain rules of thumb were utilised, with each track constructed – some might argue in counter-intuitive approach to the riff-driven world of his main band – across a subterranean low-end bedrock of two bass guitarists, a complete absence of cymbal wash, and only single notes allowed on guitar. While he performed the majority of the music, help from friends and acquaintances was enlisted, such as Pigs’ Chris Morley on drums as well as Matt Baty (Pigs x7) and Beth Jeans Houghton (Du Blonde) counting amongst the backing vocalists, all amidst a wash of celestial ambience and curlicues of analogue synth.