Review: Kelsea Robin – ‘City Boys and Dangerous Toys’



A talented violinist and songwriter, Kelsea Robin was born in San Antonio to blue-blooded Californians who spurred on her creative spirit. Spending most of her childhood in Honolulu, Kelsea began to play the violin at the age of seven, before attending college in Japan where she earned a degree in linguistics. After college, Kelsea finally settled in New York where she began to study violin with a newfound focus and passion, working hard to earn a Master’s degree in violin performance from Belmont University.


It was during this time that Kelsea found a way to combine her love of music and words, beginning to write songs and compositions that would set the foundations for her music career. Finding her voice as a singer and songwriter, Kelsea first began testing ideas and refining her sound in New York institutions such as Caffe Vivaldi, eventually landing upon a unique and lavish sound, unlike any other artist. Linking her innate creative spirit with a penchant for looping pedals, Kelsea sound is a glorious mix of vibrant, layered harmonies, intertwining her violin and vocals with perfect form.


Her debut EP, ‘City Boys and Dangerous Toys’ is a wonderful introduction to her expansive, layered sound, bringing together five original and lusciously harmonic pieces. Opening track ‘One Way Ticket’ begins with a soft piano melody that is quickly met by layers of violin and Kelsea’s heartfelt vocals. It’s a track the breaths with a romantic air, lightly built and balanced with a delicate sense of balladry. Second cut ‘Martyr’ has a far more acoustic feel, showcasing a more focused use of loop pedals that blends a more contemporary, staggered melody with a timeless, sound and flickering folk character.



Third song ‘City Boys’ brings a melancholy pop sound to the fore while following number ‘Fighter Not A Lover’ brings more militaristic musical elements to a fiery pop-inspired song. Final song ‘Pandora’ brings the EP to a close with another lingering, classical ballad that quickly transitions into a more dramatic reading. Built on a series of glistening piano keys and Kelsea’s unique vocals, it’s a fitting end to the EP and a perfect illustration of her sound.


While the harmonies might occasionally falter and Kelsea’s vocals might not always flow with the same ethereal glow, you can’t deny the creative forces on display. A thoroughly original release, there is magic within ‘City Boys and Dangerous Toys’ that lingers on well after it fades to silence, ensuring that it’ll stick in your memory for days.


Score: 7/10


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