Xenia Rubinos Hones Craft on “Black Terry Cat”

Xenia Rubinos

It’s very rare to find an artist that can stitch together music genres effortlessly. Xenia Rubinos is one of those select artists.

On her newly released album Black Terry Cat, the Cuban/Puerto Rican songstress blends elements of R&B, hip hop, rock, and jazz seamlessly and seemingly without effort. What emerges is a beautiful series of eclectic, sonically pleasing songs that are unlike any other.

Xenia Rubinos grew up in Hartford, Connecticut. After graduating high school, she attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston. It was there that she delved into musical composition and began writing her own songs.

After completing her studies at Berklee, Rubinos moved to New York City and started performing. Then, in 2012, she self-released her debut album Magic Trix and toured throughout the US and Europe the following year.

Now, Xenia Rubinos is intriguing listeners’ ears yet again with her sophomore album.

Xenia Rubinos Experiments, Pushes Boundaries Fearlessly

The track “Mexican Chef” opens with throbbing basslines, driving, funky guitar riffs, and mezzo-forte drumbeats. Then, Rubinos unleashes a quick burst of quasi-hip hop rhyming before sliding into smooth, jubilant vocals. She alternates between these two modes throughout the song as flowing grooves emerge from the basslines and guitar riffs.

Then there’s “Just Like I,” which has an alt-rock feel to it. It contains distorted, buzzing guitar riffs, resonant bass riffs, and pounding drumbeats. On top of them are Xenia Rubinos’ powerful vocals, jostling with vibrant energy and emotions.

This contrasts with the pop-style qualities of the next song, “Right?”. Here, warbling keyboard synths and percussive backbeats create a catchy rhythm. Juxtaposed to it are pleasant, expressive vocals. However, lyrics such as “What’s it going to take to make us feel safe / When we got the whole world blown up anyway?” place a nice jolt of ironic attitude to this song.

“I Won’t Say” begins with chiming bell sounds and steady drumbeats. A jazzy acoustic bassline soon enters the song, followed by an electric bassline. The basslines and drumbeats form an infectious rhythm. As the song continues, Rubinos skillfully shifts back and forth between snappy, fluid rhymes and soulful vocals. It’s also interlaced with repetitions of euphonious keyboard chords that add a light playfulness.

The album’s closing track “How Strange It Is” is one of its quirkiest songs. Against a cohesive rhythm of pulsing basslines and drums, Rubinos delivers serene, melodic vocals. At the same time, looping background vocals provide the supporting harmony while clarinet interludes are played during the chorus.

The song’s true quirkiness arises from its lyrics. Lines such as “They draw lines across land masses / And they call them countries” point out the subtle strangenesses of the familiarities of modern life many have fail to notice.

On Black Terry Cat, Xenia Rubinos showcases her songwriting skills with a diverse mix of unique, well-crafted pieces.

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