Portland’s very own Ali Muhareb just recorded an album. It’s called Mujahedeen, and it’s one of the best starts to what 2014 has to offer. The more I listen to it, the better it seems to get. In seven tracks, Muhareb has completed a cycle of songs that are characteristically unique, strong willed, well written, layered and composed with a sonically pleasing and very individual sound that is completely his own (and it’s his first fucking album).
It kicks off with “Don’t Bother Me,” staccato drum clicks give a backbone to an up-front bass line leading right into a very up-beat, almost Caribbean guitar lead. Muhareb’s vocals are behind a fuzz that still maintains clarity: “Love’s a worry/ love, don’t bother me.”
“So Bold” is a definite highlight on the album. With beautifully layered synths and chords backed up by a vocal chorus and a helluva hook, this is the one I’d put money on seeing on PDX Pop Now! 2014.
The dirty, bassy riff and audible lyrics on “Modern Grime” make it the darkest on the record, which is much appreciated.
“Thunder and Lightning,” with it’s slap-echo drums and spaced out, stoney vibe give wings to Muhareb’s voice, which has a style all it’s own.
“A New Place” highlights Muhareb’s production skills and subtle ear for sound, while maintaining the strong song writing to match the rest of the album.
“Walkin,” is to Mujahedeen as “Purple Rain” is to Purple Rain. Nuff said.
The album release for this stellar piece of work will be at the Firkin Tavern on Saturday January 4.