Imaad Wasif - Imaad Wasif (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Imaad Wasif

Imaad Wasif (2006)

Kill Rock Stars

Some people take certain quotes and philosophies a bit too far, and in effect dull the meaning those statements could have potentially made. We all know of bands who tried to integrate a "melting pot" of sounds into their music, and ended up with some amorphous blur, clouding individual talents until there's no longer a will to listen. Imaad Wasif has taken the opposite route.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Those are the words of Leonardo Da Vinci, a mantra that Wasif does his best to run with. Unfortunately, it does anything but work in his favor. His plaintive musings of internal and external turmoil start out interestingly enough, but after 10 minutes or so, they hit a wall. A creative wall. There's nothing to engage a listener after the first two tracks, and even there, the music lacks somewhat of a human quality.

I'm not saying the music is "robotic" or anything like that, but the fact is that Wasif's voice lacks the real earnest, heartfelt quality that somebody like the Jeff Buckley and Nick Drakes that he's emulating possessed so strongly. The emotion's not there. The first song, "Spark," is arguably the best of the batch, the shining instance where the lone voice on the record is very engaging, and very enjoyable. The rhythms of the acoustic guitar, though slow and subtle, perfectly adhere to the vocal patterns, making for a song that's very well done all the way around. The lyrical content matches the vocal intonations with a very morose approach.
A spark I forgot, had me laying on the ground / And the dark's all I've got, and it never let me down.
Simple, but effective, just the way Da Vinci would have liked it. The other ten songs, however, are a gradually sloping path into the very depths of mediocrity, and in many cases, even lower than that. The vocals just do not offer any qualities that somebody would need to gravitate towards, and the string plucking on the guitar is more sporadic than concise, not helping his case in the slightest. As it goes on and on, differentiating between songs becomes a more and more impossible task. It seems like one 30-minute run of absolutely boring vocals and minimal instrumentation.

I still believe the words of Leonardo Da Vinci to be inherently true, but if this is sophistication, somebody toss me a Natty Ice and let's watch the Nascar race.