Shuky Sadon is one of a brilliant freshman class of singers, and in his debut, he gives us an Israeli dance-pop album with lots of flavor. Let’s check it out.
Kol Mitzahalos: (****) First of a few dance tracks, and this one’s a hora. Fun, action packed, with a full, well-constructed instrumentation; synth based, but without getting too thin. The scattering of clarinet, trumpet and rhythm guitar amid the strong percussion really pick it up. Every singer has to have his wedding piece, and here’s Shuky’s. Good stuff.
K’ayol Taarog: (*****) A gorgeous tune, sung with sensitivity and sweetness. Shuky hits vocal heights with no loss in power or mellifluousness, and he really belts it out towards the end of the number, from 3:00 and on. Generally, across the album, he demonstrates a wonderful ability to flex his voice to match the uniqueness of the tune he’s working on, and 1:55 is Exhibit A on those lines. Slick licks on the guitar with the alto sax assisting the back. Once again, Udi Damari’s arrangement is fantastic. Here he’s got an eclectic mix of instruments given their own spots: that sax, flute and guitar. And oh, that’s quite the guitar solo to finish things off!
Yamim Ba’im: (***) I don’t know – to me, this number could have used a few changes, especially as a title track. The arrangement seems rushed, and the vocals aren’t as honest as the rest of the album. It has a pop-rock base, with a nice choir, but the lower stage of the song doesn’t allow Shuky the colorful palette he uses as he goes higher. The latter half of the song is the better half, and we’ve got some more great guitar work. And 3:00 (once again) is the high point of the piece for me, with a classy fade out and the light trumpet backing the drums.
Libi: (*****) Whoah! Holy moley. How about pitch perfect? I just about ran out of superlatives for this absolutely extraordinary tune and production. My heart jumps every time I hear it, and the volume goes up automatically. Silky smooth, flawless vocals, the melody as pretty as a picture; and an arrangement that draws out every tender ounce of emotion. You’re drawn in as it is, and then at 3:45 I just lose it – every time. What a piece! Worth the price of the album right here! Close your eyes and let this one take you away.
Zikaron Yashan: (***) Solid beat, but I don’t really get where he’s going lyrically; after all, Shuky doesn’t seem to be that elderly himself. Nice drum/sax/guitar pulling it together from the production side.
Hakol Milmaala: (***) Trance track. I love the lyrics, but these kind of things give me headaches. I’d have loved it if it wasn’t so trance-y, particularly on the soulless bass. In addition, I don’t like the combo of laissez faire first section with a power chorus. Yet, plenty positive with the sax and drums in the second half of the track.
Rak Haer Panecha: (*****) Man, this guy can croon. Stunning performance of a sweet song. And the arrangements are all in, with guitars lining the subtle drums and dimly lit snaps. Gorgeous.
Ten Chiyuch: (****) A chill moderato matching this very chill song, with the message of “just chill, dude”. Great string sound from a banjo being played like a bouzouki pulling a fine duet with the synth.
Lo Nora: (****) This time the trance-work isn’t as heavy as in Hakol Milmaala, so my head finds this one easier to handle. Nice guitar wailing from the 2:40 mark and onwards, and that whole piece really pulls it together.
Hu Hakol: (*****) A fun exit from the album, with a nice and easy Sefardi-tinged dance piece. Fantastic lyrics colored by well-placed percussion. This final number has a unique creative sound that is all its own – and would be a great basis for improve in a concert setting. It features a meditative section followed by Adon Olam, and then moves back to full sound with a rat-a-tat drumroll. Way cool, but maybe I’d have stretched it out a bit longer.
Tachlis, Shuky is a smooth vocalist with a ton of talent. His work on the slow, melodic and emotional songs are what put him over the top; and while his faster stuff doesn’t have quite the oomph, I’d say that’s just because he is just SO good laying his heart out through the gentler work. Shuky, can’t wait for more!