Following press and radio acclaim for his recent Cigarette Song single, singer-songwriter Nicky Rubin is back today with another new track and video.
Ukrainian Kiss makes full use of Nicky’s dramatic vocals (reminiscent of Richard Hawley at times), and the sweeping strings provided by longtime Elbow collaborator Stella Page create the kind of cinematic atmosphere that the Manic Street Preachers did so well in the late 90s. With poignant lyrics inspired by his first-hand experience of the 2014 revolution in Ukraine, this is well worth a listen if you’re into classic indie and windows down, drivetime rock.
“The lyric and melody were written at 6am, one blue morning, in the back of a taxi to Kiev airport,” explains Rubin on the roots of the new song. “It was then completed once I was through customs, over a vodka breakfast looking over the runway. I had received an emergency call to leave the studio and got home to find my street deserted, the restaurant below all smashed up, the supermarkets running low on food – and speaking to a friend a mile away I could hear the bullets flying all over the place near the barricades. A ghostly silence pervaded my neighbourhood. The currency was in freefall. The revolution had begun.”
Born under Manchester’s grey skies, Nicky Rubin escaped an acrimonious home life as early as he possibly could. His teenage years spent alone on Indian subcontinent set the scene for a lifetime of travel and adventure, forging a street-wise persona, light years away from his origins.
Based in Paris then later Vienna after several sojourns in Africa, Nicky settled for a while in Kiev, where with his band Rubin Hood he built up a sizeable following performing hundreds of gigs all over Ukraine and Russia. His songs are peppered with references to the wilder shores of life; passionate tales of loves lost or unrequited, self-doubt, remote border crossings, refugees and revolution, as seen with his own eyes.
In the wake of the last Kiev revolution, he returned to London and continues to gig all over the city delivering amped-up, powerhouse musical portraits of a peripatetic life truly lived.