The acoustic guitar. Like drums or the human voice, this instrument is so common in Western popular music, it's easy to take for granted. Until you hear what it can do in the hands of an artist like Yoav. Charmed And Strange, the debut album from the London-based artist, incorporates myriad sounds: woozy vapor trails; clipped, modern club beats; Middle Eastern flourishes; flashes of quiet introspection reminiscent of Nick Drake; eerie outcries a la Jeff Buckley. All crafted by Yoav, using only his voice, an acoustic guitar, simple effects and treatments... and a lot of imagination.
He sings into his guitar, slaps it around quite a bit and you wouldn't be entirely surprised if he happened to throw it down and stomp on it with his bare feet. Born in Israel, raised in South Africa and now splitting his time between Montreal and London, Yoav isn't quite like other singer-songwriters. He counts Timbaland and the Neptunes as major influences and spends as much time coaxing funky rhythms out of his battered acoustic guitar as he does strumming it. He won over Tori Amos' fans after supporting her on tour, which makes sense. The songs on his debut album, Charmed and Strange
are quirky and inventive. Listening to the dense, multilayered arrangements on "Adore Adore" and "Club Thing," or even his ethereal take on the Pixies' "Where Is My Mind?," you'd be hard-pressed to believe that the whole thing was played on that poor six-string. -- Aidin Vaziri