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Imaad Wasif – [Album]

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Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Imaad Wasif is big believer in rock and the epic force of the mid-paced riff. He's also been seen about as the touring guitarist in Yeah Yeah Yeahs. But his style and approach have very little to do with YYY's artful yelp-rock.

This record, Strange Hexes, had kept inadvertently coming up for me in the shuffle zone and I was keeping an eye on it in that way that you keep an eye on a guy who swears a lot at work and smells weird, because you know that guy is probably pretty fun to hang out with. It's a droney classic rock record that is part psych raga homage and part Crazy Horse-aping sludge. It could be seen as a sister album to Black Mountain's recent In the Future as both find heavy psych rock with blissful undertones as a conduit for bare-boned confessions of frustration and slightly pie-eyed dreams of spirituality ("take a dose of reality," he sings at one point).

Wasif warbles keenly in a way that makes him seem like a doubting mystic—he surveys the land around him with poetic grace, but can't help but draw up his guard, turn his back, and sneer like the distanced and disgruntled rock classicist. Luckily, he's also got that axe. Said axe turns songs like "Wanderlusting" and "Lesser Banshee" into ringing mixtures of riffs and stewed and fried jam sessions. Throw in some progressively minded time shifts into la-la land and some into dirgy sludge metal (barely, but enough to let us know he's not all about turquoise jewelry) and you've got a pretty riveting album that kicks enough unexpected ass to warrant an actual purchase. So go buy it. Now.

More on Imaad Wasif here: www.myspace.com/imaadw and www.imaadwasif.com

Strange Hexes is out now.

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