Crossing the boundaries of jazz, blues, classical and caressing art pop on occasion, Fafa Galoure’s Isreali heritage intoxicates you throughout her debut album “As You Are”.
Opener “Falling From Wonder” lures you in with its serpent-like coils. The tense and smokey jazz tongue licks at your ear and coupled with Galoure’s sensual yearning in her voice, it’s a potent mix. The guitar, harp and bass all interplay in a way that’s melodic but tense – you never feel quite settled as there is a dark foreboding undercurrent in the track. This undercurrent, born out in the chord progression for each song, is present throughout the album. “Tingle My Taste” pushes the Arabian shuffle to the fore with quick step drums, Eastern guitar flurries and then bursting into something more alt-rock for the choruses. It’s a wonderful mix of atmosphere and culture that PJ Harvey would be proud of in the To Bring You My Love era. “Inside Your Heart” plays the discordant piano rock symphony with aplomb. Its dramatic string smothered rock is the kind of thing you’d rock out to whilst Fafa’s voice get’s to shine with big bellows from both her low and high register. Think early Coldplay, but angry and with a bit more bite and a cinematic edge. I hope that doesn’t put you off!
“On The Road” is all about the funky bass. It picks and slides about like a 1960’s shoop shoop track, and the vibraphone and backing vocals channel the same vibe. It’s darker and jazzier in other parts but it continues to show the versatility of Galoure’s musical bassline. “No Sound” is an anti-anthem as the hushed piano and drums slowly get swamped by huge guitar waves that wash in and build the track to its heavy climax. It reminds me heavily of Nadine Shah’s way of doing rock and that’s no bad thing. “Hero” is a real throwback to something more classical and theatrical. The entire track is a string and vocal tango dance. It’s pointed, dirty and insidious in its mood and a mood piece is certainly what it is. On the other end of the spectrum the dreamy muted acoustics of “Am I Dreaming” plays off the other side of Fafa’s voice and feelings. Instead of spitting each word out, this is a lush prog-rock track the evolves from its acoustic ballad roots into something more spacious and post-rock like.
Upon closing an album with a vast sound that still feels like a body of work that’s cohesive, we get a final trio of belters. “Clean Again” is probably the most radio-friendly track on the album as it is a relatively standard alt-rock track, although that description doesn’t give it justice. It’s swirling echoes and piano motifs add a creamy layer to everything so even though it’s a four chord song for the most part, your ears are never bored. “In The Dark” turns the electric guitars up to 11 as Fafa channels Susie Quatro for a trash rock number – well for the first half anyway! The second half of the song is an eerie horror movie like string and guitar feedback build up with an ever-increasing drum beat. It channels all the album’s tension and rids you of it before “Euphoria” ends the album with an electric piano and mellotron ballad. It’s hippy jazzy Carpenter’s like sound is sumptuous.
I am genuinely surprised and delighted at the scope of “As You Are”. There’s so much on offer, Fafa Galoure has made a stunning debut that will be on repeat for many more moons to come yet. This is an album for those who want to find something interesting and undiscovered in the world singer/songwriters.