Despite, or perhaps because of, his indie rock pedigree,
Imaad Wasif is something of a classic rock purist. From 2006-2007, he toured
with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs as an auxiliary guitar player, and he cut his teeth in
the LA band alaska!
and Palm Desert-based lowercase. The
Voidist, however, his third solo album and first for Tee Pee, is everything
these past and current projects aren’t.
It seems that Wasif’s heart lies in the big, traditional
rock riffs and the folksy plucking of bands like Led Zeppelin and their ilk, as
opposed to the dancey post-punk or lo-fi experimentation he has flirted with in
other projects. An element of mysticism pervades his music, as it did on his
last solo album, Strange Hexes, from
the dreamy “Our Skulls” to the Olde English folksong meanderings of “Widow
Wing.” These moments are nice, and showcase a confident singer/songwriter
working in a medium and style that suits him well, but the traditionalism that
he clings to isn’t always very exciting or inspiring. Songs like the pop-rock
“Priestess,” that chug along at a brisk pace and are actually more conventional
in some ways, fare better.
Over all, while one can’t argue with the conception and
arrangement of Wasif’s work, there is nothing that stands out here. Perhaps
that is not what he was going for. Perhaps his goal was simply to a make a
no-frills rock and roll record with deft guitar playing and sweet singing that
is removed from any trends or fads. In that, he has succeeded.
Standout Tracks: “Priestess,”
“The Hand of the Imposter” JONAH FLICKER