Bedouine's (Azniv Korkejian) debut is a delight, drifting with the warmth and ease of a summer day and lightly hued with nostalgia.
Musically, she mixes the guitar playing of Bert Jansch and the arrangement of Sibylle Baier (if not as sparse) with a days-gone-by songwriting mentality. Her tunes certainly evoke an older time, one that's been atop a shelf for a while, curing slowly, aging sweetly. Her vocals evoke those of Vashti Bunyan (though her voice isn't quite as soft), alternating between a warm hush and deep and direct semi-spoken clarity.
Bedouine's lyrics range from simple statements ("If I'm talking sweet to you, you know I want to hear it, too" on the bright "One of These Days") to poetry that would make Leonard Cohen nod in agreement ("Though I'm not an island, I'm a body of water / Jewelled in the evening, a solitary daughter / If picked at by noon, by midnight I'm ruined" she posits on the spoke-sung "Solitary Daughter").
Most of these songs exist in an acoustic realm, softly strummed with a lush string section backbone, and the light-hearted mood rarely sways — save for "Summer Cold," just past the halfway mark on the record. The tune is a true standout, teasing with an eerie air, breathy backing vocals and a woozy waltz courtesy of the sliding bass, and is Bedouine's only truly dark moment. Otherwise, the songs sparkle like sunlight upon a body of water, and are just as beautiful, crafted upon the foundation of Korkejian's guitar playing.
Opener "Nice and Quiet" brings Norah Jones to mind, "Back to You" has a touch of Joni Mitchell ("California city parks, they talk in exclamation marks, I'm still dying to know what's exciting") and the delicate "You Kill Me" and "Dusty Eyes" are swoon-worthy tunes. She plays with her phrasing, dancing between tranquil and assertive, and speaks of her fondness for the quieter, simpler moments that life can offer. She invites the listen to sigh along with her, to reflect on matters of the heart and pause to admire the beauty in overlooked things.
For a woman who moonlights as a Hollywood music editor and whose hands first held a guitar in her 20s, Bedouine certainly didn't hesitate once song ideas came tripping along into her mind. Give Bedouine a listen, and allow it to charm you. (Spacebomb Records)