1 April 2017

Nadine Khouri - The Salted Air

Nadine Khouri is a Beirut born singer who is based in London, who is influenced by dream-pop, moody soundtracks and spoken-word, with her sound being described as a "music born of perennial outsider-status".  This album was released on February 24th 2017, it was produced by John Parish and has received some good reviews so far, but now it is time for us to add our own voice to the list of sites/magazines and other periodicals that have looked at this album.

01 - Thru You I Awake

This is a most a Capella performance on this song, Ms Khouri has a rich voice that sounds like a mixture of Celtic and middle-eastern tones to create a haunting opening.  Towards the end, you have a little bit of strings towards the end of the song, but mostly it is just that voice and it gives this album an interesting opening.

02 - I Ran Through the Dark (To the Beat of My Heart)

With a progressive and stark strumming, this song fades in slowly with other instruments joining in to give support to Nadine Khouri as she speaks of running towards a loved one with every beat of the heart taking her closure.  It is a strong song, it was released as a single on 31st March 2017 and I can see why that has happened.  It has passion, the music is dripping with drama as well; however, there is something not there for me and it is the music, it dominates the song and the vocals seem to be supportive instead of centre and with a voice like this, it should be the other way around.

03 - Jerusalem Blue

It is a similar case with 'Jerusalem Blue' sadly, the vocals are sometimes drowned by the music and that is a little frustrating as the quieter moments where she is able to shine are so intriguing and full of promise that it feels so wrong that she is supporting her own music.  Such a shame....

04 - Broken Star

Now we have a darker moment here, gentler and it makes a hell of a lot of impact on this record without breaking any volumes and it is because the music in the background is just that; it is allowing the vocals to shine as it should be the case.  It is sorrowful and heart-breaking, the vocals as gentle as a breeze and strong as a hurricane.  Such a good song and it is because it is allowing everything to work together, just as it should be.

05 - Daybreak

This song feels like it is written with the coast in mind, it has that air of the sea about it (which is laced throughout the album) and it actually has Nadine Khouri front and centre which is something that is not always apparent on this record.  But on this one, her vocals soar to a height that with apparent ease and without having to scream or sound as if it is going to break.  A powerfully gentle statement.

06 -The Salted Air

The title track of this album is another one which seems to have the coast in mind, the sea is a part of this song as the music waxes and fades like the waves crash against the shore.  It is another song that is also feels like it could use a fresh set of eyes on it, there is something missing here and it is not easy to put your finger on.  It is good, but I should be enthralled.

07 - Surface of the Sea

I think we can safely say the sea is now more important to the album than anything else, this is an album which is all about the water and coast lines.  This song feels like the sun is shining on the water, it is very friendly and full of that reflective bright light.  But it does not mesh for me, it is a different beast to the rest of the record; not in a bad song and it could also be a path to take on another record as the song itself is a good one. Just it clashes to be honest, such is the way of things.

08 - You Got a Fire

'You Got a Fire' on the other hand is in keeping with the album, but it does not add to it sadly.  It has a stop/start feeling about it and it does not really gel for these ears, it’s sort of feels stagnant and that is sort of sad for such a great voice.

09 - Shake It Like a Shaman

Now this is an interesting song, incredibly interesting.  Tribal, chanting, percussion driven and the focus is on that voice; right where it should be and it is long overdue to be honest.  It feels so basic and it has a rhythm that is so catchy that it should come with a health warning.  What a great song, it is a brilliant moment and it helps this record so much.

10 - Catapult

Ending the album is 'Catapult', it feels like it is plagued with the same issues which have been bugging me here; it is over produced musically and it would have made a bigger impression with a little tweak here and there and giving the final notes to Nadine Khouri, but I can dream of that moment on another record.

Sadly, this album is not something I would regularly go back to; it does have some beautiful music, but the music sadly overpowers those gentle, beautiful vocals of Nadine Khouri and they should be placed at the centre stage of this release.  Instead, her vocals seem to sometimes be supporting her own music and that does not help her.  Basically, the production job on this album does not elevate Nadine Khouri in a way that does her justice, which is a shame as she has such a different vocal style.  It is a unique voice and it needs to be shining, it is also incredible refreshing to hear someone not straining their vocals which can ruin a good song.  I hope that Nadine Khouri releases more work, keeps on her own interesting path and maybe have an album where the music is more supportive, those vocals deserve to shine and hopefully they will.

6 out of ten - Now I see where you were going, but it is not quite there.

Top track - Shake It Like a Sharman

You can purchase The Salted Air on Amazon here.

You can visit the Nadine Khouri website here.

You can follow the activities of Nadine Khouri on Facebook here.

You can stream The Salted Air on Spotify here.

You can stream The Salted Air on Deezer here.

You can stream The Salted Air on Tidal here.

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