Building conviction to expose a buried truth can be quite a challenge. It is, however, one that Dallas based singer/songwriter N’Dambi is not afraid to confront. Though hers is a story of big dreams, double lives and former love, at times it appears to be missing one vital ingredient: passion.
Pink Elephant is N’Dambi’s third US release and debut on legendary Stax Records. The album has potential, boasting powerful yet mellifluous vocals coupled with heavy dramatic themes. Songs such as “L.I.E,” relay the saga of a man’s double life along New York’s Long Island Expressway. A young woman endures the false promises of her lover in the blues-stirred “Imitator,” while an illusion of love rebounds in the funky, love-gone-wrong “Daisy Chain.”
N’Dambi wants to be dramatic. Many of her songs are observational, however, the songstress spinning yarns witnessed rather than excising some personal pain. Unfortunately, this gives the album something of a bland ambiance. Pink Elephant's most exciting moment comes from the lead single, “Can’t Hardly Wait,” where she candidly wonders “I don’t know why I keep fuckin’ wit you,” throughout the entirety of the track. The echo of the statement alone is more intriguing than the song itself, though.
All in all, "Pink Elephant" is far from a bad album. I have no doubt it will satisfy fans. And given her strong vocals, her live shows are sure to be worth looking out for. But I have to hope that they pack that punch of vitality missing from this LP. —Azza Gallab