Imaad Wasif

The self-titled debut from former Alaska! frontman Imaad Wasif is meant "for that late night vibe or the early morning fear," or so he says. This album begs to put the listener in a trance. Its simplicity, beauty, and pure confidence makes Imaad Wasif a frontrunner to be the next "intimate" singer/songwriter that will own the headphones of a long winter walk or the end of a long summer day. No matter what season, what day, what time, this album will turn your thoughts away from whatever it may be that you're thinking about. This is not Rob Gordon's "music to ignore." This is music that forces you to listen, forces you think, and forces you to forget.

At first listen, people will give you the Elliott Smith, Jose Gonzalez, Nick Drake, and even Neil Young comparisons. None of these comparisons work. It seems as though Wasif has no desire to sound like these people. His voice is subtle and confident and doesn't push the listener away. It grasps you, pulls you down, and makes you wonder how an album can base itself on such simplicity, yet sound so unique and exhilarating.

On "Out In The Black," the first single off the album, Wasif proclaims, "I never said that I could save you from the dark heart." This line struck me the first time I heard it as I imagined Wasif starting to write this collection of songs for the sole purpose of healing. These songs sound so therapeutic and beautiful that the purpose of the writing them seems to go farther than just to express feelings or pure enjoyment. These songs were written for other people. They sound as though they're simple letters to people in Wasif's life. They were written to say hello, to say goodnight, or to simply make a friend or lover know that he was thinking about them. Wasif didn't write these songs for himself. They sound, simply put, like gifts.

There aren't many albums that have struck a chord in me as of late, and Imaad Wasif's solo debut will become a classic in the years to come. "I wouldn't have come unless I cared," sings Wasif on "Fade In Me." Well, we are glad he showed up.

Kill Rock Stars

Imaad Wasif