Rocks Off almost never gets a bad recording out of the Red Tree Recording Studio, so when producer Harold Reubens sent us his latest project, he had to jump a bar he'd already set pretty high.
Little did we know that not only would Alyssa Rubich's C'est La Vie clear the hurdle, she would keep rising with terminal velocity.
Rubich is a 19-year-old Florida transplant now studying at Sam Houston State. She's been writing songs since age nine and playing guitar since 11. C'est La Vie is her debut EP, and if it's any indication of what she's capable of, it's only a matter of time until she sets the whole friggin' music industry ablaze.
Listening to the EP takes a little dedication if you're going to discover exactly what makes it groundbreaking instead of merely pleasing. You'll hear the Regina Spektor and Poe influences right off the bat, but the first listening may lull you into believing that Rubich is defiling the legacy of those Valkyries with a set of fairly generic love songs.
However, her melodies are so catchy, her voice so sinisterly sexual, that we couldn't help but spin the five-track EP again, and that was a good thing. You start to notice things lyrically in C'est la Vie on the second go-round.
You realize that "Blindness" isn't some bad-boyfriend/breakup bullshit, it's a study in deep, dark pathological obsession between friends. You realize "Little King" isn't some saccharine, sugar-coated ode to a failed love affair, it's a heart-rending cry to a sibling who apparently just went missing one day.
In fact, as you surf down the audio pouring out, you wipe out on the rocks of Rubich's beautiful but damaged soul, a journey horrifying in its baldness and sincerity. Her autobiographical audacity, linked in with a true poet's gift and Rueben's flawless engineering, has turned a survivor's tale into a battle cry.
With no shame at all, we have to admit that Rubich has recorded our favorite local album ever. We sat down with her to get some answers questioned.