Yoav Charmed & Strange

Dance music without a beat is a hard sell. It’s made all the more difficult when the drums and programming are replaced by an acoustic guitar, which London-based Yoav builds his debut, Charmed & Strange, around. Although an interesting concept, probably better done in a live environment, the initial use of recording funky guitar rhythms and looping them tends to stall in the absence of proper instrumentation. At the centre is Yoav’s mellifluous voice pattern, which rotates between anthemic Robbie Williams-style croons and bedroom whispers, highlighted by a confident yet wearing, hip-hop styled lyrical play in which he replaces kicks and snares with his voice. In keeping with the Grey’s template of redoing iconic songs into radio-ready format, his cover of the Pixies staple "Where Is My Mind” is slowed to the emo-styled treatment Nada Surf gave OMD’s "If You Leave,” which lacks the urgency of the original. Too difficult to actually dance to, Yoav’s dark good looks make him an easy sell to the new cocktail generation, who have the show but not the substance. (Universal)