The Salted Air
There is a delicate quality to Nadine Khouri’s voice when you are first introduced to her; a hushed, bewitching quality that is equally earnest as it is powerful. It’s a contradiction to read, that I am well aware, but it is such a juxtaposition which one would believe lead previous PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish to end up working with Khouri.
Indeed, those comparisons to Harvey have followed Khouri around since the release of A Song To The City – the musician on that release with a luscious, roomy folk approach that some may consider of the earlier PJ Harvey Trio ilk and much in the similar vein of Parish/Harvey crossover A Woman a Man Walked By, Khouri’s album is dominated by nuanced flourishes amongst the sparse, sombre moments. Those moments are as dynamic as any noise-rock band could aspire to reach, in its own contained storm.
All comparisons aside, The Salt Air progresses the folk elements from Khouri’s previous release, more so steeped this time around with more European sensibilities; its earlier efforts evoke the likes of Brel and Brecht with their dissonant, cold musical composition juxtaposed with those earthly tones from Khouri. Again, these works are bewitching, but by the forth track there is a concern that the tracks become all too familiar and perhaps the album may become anaemic because of this.
This is where “Daylight” manages to break free of the familiarity and subsequently the comfort from the nuances in the first part of the album make way to a range of new idiosyncrasies which give the album, thankfully, the longevity that brings it back for repeat listens.
It’s a cautious listen admittedly – its instant accessibility might not be evident from the outset. But this isn’t an album that professes a collection of singles; instead this is an album that relishes in the eerie calm throughout and warrants a little more attention to it than something casually slung on a mobile device upon its first foray with yourself.