September 25, 2015 Nadia Kazmi – LAMB (Album Review)
Nadia Kazmi will not remind music listeners of the legion of singer-songwriters recording music today. Her sound is a unique blend of Alternative Rock and Blues, at the same time evoking elements of Folk and Punk. She does not necessarily fit into one particular genre and that is what makes her so exciting. There is a complexity and simplicity to her music and that contradiction is what entices the listener. She reels her audience in with her honest lyrics, raw, dynamic vocals, and her powerful imagery. While she may not follow the current singer-songwriter model, her sound is reminiscent of the ‘60s, albeit with a modern twist. She elicits similarities from influences like Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, and at times Jim Morrison.
Originally from Calgary, Canada, the now New York-based singer-songwriter splits her time between the two cities, which has had a profound influence on her sound. Following the release of her 2008 album, Arrival, and a collection of re-imagined Leonard Cohen tunes in 2010’s Strange Song, Kazmi released the EP, LAMB, on August 28, 2015, a seven-song sampling of her upcoming 2016 full-length album.
On LAMB, Kazmi offers a collection of songs that are diverse, atmospheric, emphatic, textured, and thought-provoking. She is not afraid to shy away from the mainstream, and while her songs can sometimes seem abstract, they are still accessible. There is often juxtaposition in Kazmi’s vocals, at times pure and sweet, other times piercing and bold. She uses the authority in her voice to say exactly what is on her mind, which can be heard in opening and closing tracks, “Kill the Monster” and “Dime Store Punks.” The former assaults with a pulsating beat and heavy guitar riff, which is propelled by the slicing magnitude of Kazmi’s voice, while the latter is a bluesy, gritty, Rock tune full of angry vocals.
While there is plenty of hard-hitting, in-your-face storytelling, Kazmi also balances the EP with haunting and emotional tracks, such as “Blaze a Trail” and “Winter’s Queen.” Both songs take a darker melodic turn and create a more mysterious atmosphere. Kazmi often uses metaphors in her lyrics, encouraging her audience to find the meaning in her work. She is a thoughtful songwriter and her play on words in “Lamb in Wolf’s Clothing” is a great example of a clever combination of pleasing, Folk-infused, melody with sincere lyrics.
Nadia Kazmi is an artist with plenty to say in a musical landscape where that is not always the case. While her influences can be heard in her sound, she creates music that is modern and entirely different from anything else out there. If LAMB is a taste of what is to come, there is a lot of significant, intelligent, and diverse work to look forward to. CrypticRock gives this EP 4 out of 5 stars.