Christina Rubino’s smoky vocals and personal lyrics for a engrossing experience throughout her new album, Alive from the Scrapheap. Touching on a variety of topics – from losing parents to artistic struggle – the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter creates a pleasing vein of Americana centered around harmonicas and acoustics, at least on the impressive “Pending the Last Soul”. A twangy guitar provides a swanky bluesy feel, while the gentle rhythm guitar and spurts of soothing harmonica scale things back into more personal singer/songwriter territory. Jerry Farley’s production manages to evade the boring aspects of this style, instead delivering a cohesive integration of acoustic-folk and more electric blues/rock.
Alive from the Scrapheap is Rubino’s first full-length solo album, after years of inspiration from several sources — even a commercial. “I was sitting on the couch, loafing, and all of a sudden I heard this voice. It was like my insides woke up, the hair stood up on my neck,” she explains. “Time-Life’s music commercial had come on advertising a 1960s music compilation, and the seven-second snippet of music that changed my life forever was Janis Joplin singing the chorus to “Piece of My Heart.” That was it. I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.” Janis, Cat Power, and Patti Smith are a few noticeable influences, but through it all Rubino manages to create original-sounding material that can hypnotize a listener with its personable charm.