I give this album an 8.5/10 It is a good creamy nitro IPA. It has that smoothness to it without sacrificing the bitterness of the hops. Like Terrapin and Green Flash’s Tangerine Dreamsicle. There is a familiarity to it, but something that makes it refreshingly new.
With reviewing new music. I think it appropriate, and typical to use other more established artists as a sort of tool in which we compare the new artist to. This is necessary to do because we do not really have another point of reference. Evaluating music on an intrinsic basis is difficult because of the subjective nature of music. Having stated my case I confess that my initial reaction was that this artist sounds a lot like Pink. I do not mean this in the regard that Rubino is a Pink clone, but I draw many similarities. Rubino herself gives off the impression of a tough, but sensitive woman. I think this is very Pink image-wise. Physically, Rubino has fiery red hair and sailor tattoos. This point is hit home when you hear Rubino’s vocals. She has the powerful more gruff sound of a female punk rocker. This is in opposition to the majority of other female artists like Taylor Swift for example. Swift sort of gives off this younger almost girlish vibe in both her songwriting, appearance and vocals. Rubino on the other hand give off the sense of a more mature woman who has lived life. This by no means is a criticism of either artist, but I think that there is an important distinction to make, because Rubino is a bit atypical when placed on the spectrum of female singers
Rubino provides a refreshingly varied album. I did not get bored with it. The songs work well together without being too much the same. In fact, I would say that the songs span far and wide. The album opens with Down To The Sea a very pop-punk styled song reminiscent of groups like Good Charlotte and Blink-182. We get a nice taste of the depth and range of Rubino’s vocals. The song has had a lot of studio work, but I do not think it sounds overproduced. It is clean, but it does not detract from the punkish sound I think she is trying to put out.
The secondary song on the album Identical Strangers is a softer rock sound that reminds me of the early 90s soft rock groups like Counting Crows, and Travis. This is a pleasant song that stands out from the opening track in that it has a much more conventional soft rock feel. The Male vocals provided by Tommy Lombardozzi are a nice touch. The two harmonize well. It is a safer sounding song, but it works as a nice cool down from the opening track.
Godspeed & Guns, shares the name of the album. I think that it is a perfect song for Rubino to sing. It goes back to my initial assessment of Rubino as the powerful heartbroken female figure. The song paints a portrait of a tough woman. The vocals are powerful, and the incorporation of mariachi horns and Spanish guitar are a surprising, but fitting elements of this song. They speak to the creativity and diversity of this album. You can check out the video here.
Orbit serves as a nice cooldown from the emotional intensity of Godspeed & Guns. The piano centered song is peaceful without letting up too much on the persistent emotion of the album. The string arrangement in the middle of the song is a nice touch. It enters powerfully and hopeful, and helps build the song from its initial solo piano, then it falls back. To that solo piano then to silence.
That Shadow of a Ghost picks back up on the initial feeling we got from Down To The Sea At Daybreak. The female pop punk is executed wonderfully. It is a good high energy song. Which is placed perfectly on the album. It is a perfect release of the emotional build up.
Feather is an acoustic song which brings the energy level back down. It is a reflective song with beautiful vocal harmonies. The buildup is appropriate for the up-tempo Ha-Ha.
Ha Ha has sort of a Sheryl Crowe country feel; meaning that it is sort of country, but not quite. The chorus of Ha-ha’s are catchy and well produced.
Lullabye is just that. A piano ballad that is meant for a child. She is proud of her child. It is a wonderful sentiment.
Irish Blessing is another great example of the creativity on this album. It opens with bagpipes which is something that is quite uncommon in most genres outside of traditional Scottish/Irish music. The bagpipes work well with the distorted grungy sounding guitars and penny whistle (I had to look that instrument up it looks like a metal recorder). I think it is refreshing to hear the experimentation that Rubino incorporates. I sense a very promising career for this woman.
Down To The Sea At Dusk. Is really an incredible song. It is the same lyrics as the opening track, Down To The Sea At Daybreak except the rock guitar is replaced by piano and studio harmonies. It takes on a completely different meaning when slowed down and reworked. I see that as a mark of a great artist. It shows that art is a living breathing thing that can be manipulated and changed. There is a subsequent video for this song that can be found here. Soundcloud link.
In conclusion, Christina Rubino has a a good sense for album creation and is unafraid to explore the different realms of music. I expect great things from her to come. The album releases on valentines day, 2/14/2017 so be sure to look out for it.