Ariel Rubin: Big Spoon EP

ariel rubin, big spoonAriel Rubin: Big Spoon EP
Kickstarter.com has sort of revolutionized the way music is released. Everyone thought it was such a revolution for Radiohead to release a pay-what-you-want album but Kickstarter.com has removed record labels even farther away from the process. With Kickstarter.com, artists post their ideas for an album and people pledge money to help the artist pay for recording, press the album, in some cases even hire backing musician. Ariel Rubin‘s debut, Big Spoon EP is the product of such a kickstarter project.
I do not necessarily think it is surprising that Rubin was able to reach her goal of 15 thousand dollars. She is a fairly attractive woman with a voice that is somewhere between Norah Jones and Regina Spektor. But my guess is that her voice or looks did not play all that much into her ability to raise the money. Rather the major story of the EP is the musical side of things.
Ariel Rubin is a skilled mandolin player. In the short three song EP, she showcases a great variety of musical styles. On “Big Spoon”, she shows she can play mandolin similar to a banjo, with furious finger picking. On “Mama I’m Leaving”, she shows she strums the mandolin, using it similarly to a guitar.
But the EP’s strongest showing is “I’m a Sinner.” The track is the closest Ariel Rubin comes to rocking. The mandolin plays a much more minor role than in the other tracks. Instead the song is populated by a variety of instruments: guitar, bass, drums, horns, and organ. The song pops in an otherwise sparsely arranged EP.
Although “I’m a Sinner” is my favorite track, it does not mean that the more stripped down tracks don’t have a lot to offer. Ariel Rubin writes really good song with strong hooks and a retro chic. I could see hear easily obtaining success similar to Katherine Whalen or Joanna Newsom.
Rating: 8.3/10
MP3: Ariel Rubin “I’m a Sinner”
Buy: iTunes