Rubio’s ‘U’ EP is a Witchy Sonic Adventure

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Fran Straube, the frontwoman of Chilean rock outfit Miss Garrison, continues to plot her mini-EP series this year via solo project Rubio. The first one of the series, R, has been simmering in our brains for three months. It’s finally time to open our hearts to the next installment, U.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Straube’s music as Rubio is that she lives for drama. Her commitment to the cinematic blooms on U, as she explores her vocal limits, floating between quirky whispers and blown-out beltings. “Las Plantas” is an off-kilter dance track citing every musical reference you think of; sitar strums overlap with plucked acoustic strings, muddied by a fat digital bass line. Its rolled snares and claps call us to join the ritual, which Straube leads with sweet melodies that turn into controlled high-pitched freak-outs.

The counterpart to “Las Plantas,” on the other hand, is “El Tesoro,” which shares its sonic palette and, although rhythm remains important, it’s toned down until it reaches ballad territory. It’s an epic journey that takes us through realms of horns, auto-tune, and majestic harmonies, with words that follow us around even though they prove to be quite impenetrable.

U feels both dark and bursting with hope. The two tracks are tied together as adventures you want to follow until the very end, making for a rewarding listen.

Stay tuned for the remaining two EPs in the following months through Jungla, which, taking a wild guess here, will finish spelling the word “RUBIO.”