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  Nowhere 2 Records  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:
  Indoor Miner  

For those of you partial to the odd singer songwriter, there have been some rather good releases of late. Recently, I reviewed the extremely promising debut album by a London-based American Eric Loren and now this, the latest release by an LA based Israeli guy who claims his main influences are Jeff Buckley, Elliot Smith, and John Lennon. Now I'm not convinced that Messrs Buckley and Smith have proved too influential on Itai's songwriting, but the man who once labelled himself Dr Winston O'Boogie certainly springs to mind on more than a few occasions.

The album opens, however, with Parksound, a delicious two minute instrumental, which soon sees the finger-plucked acoustic joined by a soothing keyboard sound that initially makes you worry that the track is going to build up into some horrid mid-70's prog thing. Thankfully though, it just enhances the feel of things and everything remains on the right side of The Taste Fence. We first hear Itai's singing on the following track, Center Stage, which is an old fashioned sounding song where his whispered vocals bring to mind Lennon for the first, though not the last, time. I guess you could say Center Stage has got a similar feel to Lennon's Woman, with added tasty keyboards that are pitched somewhere between Billy Preston and a church organ.

Part of the Ocean follows, and, with the atmospheric build up (a deep tub thumping drum sound is accompanied by the sound of waves in the distance), it's definitely one of my favourites on the album. There's maybe less emphasis on melody initially here than on some of the other tracks, but this is still quite beautiful all the same. Gentle acoustic strumming and relentless windy backing are central, before the gorgeous "You are not what you seem" Lennon-like chorus pops in to satisfy those of us who, as they say, love a good tune. The other standout track for me is The Queen, with Itai's fragile, almost cracked vocals and the intriguing "where the kind words fall like saccharine from your vocal chords" line. It's a beaut…

There are plenty of other good moments here though. Although I'm loath to describe When You Wake as the uptempo one, it does build nicely, whilst Fault is another slow, languid, Lennon-ish number. The closing track, Last Night, features a spot of C&W pedal steel that embellishes the song perfectly. In fact, the only track that doesn't really do it for me is Faint Radio, where a piano accompanies a staccato guitar, resulting in an almost jazzy feel. Unfortunately, as a song, it doesn't really go anywhere, but otherwise Now is a lovely EP, which, despite being a soothing and chilled affair, is somehow never bland.

This mini-album might only last a little under thirty-minutes, but as a firm believer in quality over quantity, you'll get no complaints from me. There's some top quality songwriting going on here. In fact, I'd go as far as saying that Now could well be the soundtrack to my summer…

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