CD REVIEW: Christina Rubino - Alive from the Scrapheap
by: Cyrus Rhodes
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST-
Artist: Christina Rubino
CD: Alive from the Scrapheap
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Alternative Rock, Pop, Singer-Songwriter, Contemporary Christian
Sounds Like: Janis Ian, Indigo Girls, CocoRosie, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Sharon Van Etten
Technical Grade: 8/10
Weakness: Winded Songs, more instrumentation, Snare drum tonality
Brooklyn native and musician, Christina Rubino’s first full-length solo album Alive from the Scrapheap is set to release in... early 2014. This powerful and eclectic album tells the story of a gifted artist who got lost trying to find herself and only found herself when she was lost. Her lyrics are intertwined with beautiful harmonies, rustic harmonicas, raw emotion and an acoustic twang. Here latest CD entitled ‘Alive from the Scrapheap” was released in 2014.
The CD gently takes flight with “The Gateway” a smooth intro groove that serves up an inviting vocal groove against impressive Americana fretwork, Harmonica, smooth as silk rhythm section and mesmerizing vocal delivery from Rubino. Track 2 “Pending the Last Soul” presents a hypnotic, slow moving ditty that serves up a methodical musical build, well placed slide guitar with a passionate melody and delivery with heartfelt vocals from Rubino that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. Track 3 “Nothing to Gain” delivers a melancholy melody with thought provoking lyrical content against well placed vocal harmonies and gripping music and lyrical content. I would classify this music as classic Americana Folk, with powerful traces of Singer/Songwriter. The production quality runs the gamut and the musicianship of everyone involved is above the bar. Along the way you will notice an array of instrumentation (besides the 4 piece standard) with things like impressive percussive accents, Harmonica, Slide Guitar, mesmerizing solos, solo guitar, lush harmonies all built upon a sparse rhythm section foundation. Song for song the combination of Rubino’s emotional voice and earthy fretwork is impressive. Now turning our attention over to Rubino - as for her vocal abilities - she is quite impressive. Her musical and vocal style is cut from the cloth of Janis Ian, Indigo Girls, CocoRosie, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Sharon Van Etten. Every now and then she reminds me of Sara McLachlan. Her voice definitely works well within the confines of this folksy musical catalog. She showcases a bold yet confident Mezzo Soprano vocal ability. I especially like her vocal power when it's called for and also how her voice just sort of flows and ebbs melodically with the music. This is an amazing quality that not many artists can execute. All engineering aspects check out, with crystal clear high end clarity and solid low end frequencies. This CD from Rubino delivers 11 compelling tracks all providing an interesting snapshot of a clairvoyant artist with thought provoking lyrical wisdom with gripping messages of truth and passion with rays of hope shining through. From melodic “Little B in D” to heartfelt ‘Aria Divina” to gripping “Seems” to mesmerizing “Stix and Stones” to invigorating “Breakout” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with track 11 “Billy’s Song” the perfect wrap for a catalogue like this.
All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. I wish there were more instrumentation to further enhance the Americana Folk experience. Things like Fiddles, Mandolin, Organ, Piano, Pedal Steel, Drum Kit, and Accordion There's really is no drum kit present though I did notice sporadic traces of Kick, Snare and earthy percussion. I fully realize this is a part of the stripped down Folk format in the vein of Munford Sons, so it's not really a hit per say. However the Snare drum tonality seems a bit off kilter and overly thin.
I like everything about Christina Rubino. She's truly an infectious Folk artist that possess a rock solid look, sound, appeal, talent and vocal presence. She also is an impressive songwriter, guitarist and vocalist. Besides the scrapheap, all songs are sung straight from the heart. MAke no bones about it - it took a lot or courage to write and perform some of these these songs. This CD may not be the best listen if you are going through a bitter divorce, or on the day you get fired. Regardless - Alive from the Scrapheap is an impressive catalogue of music. The music is warm, boldly honest and earthy, melancholy, highly passionate. Note for note, song for song this catalogue is extremely consistent and fills the space with what I would describe as powerful musical exuberance.