Reviews: Yoav - Charmed and Strange

Published at okayplayer.com

Yoav
Charmed and Strange
Released by Verve Forecasts

The thing about Israel-born, South African-raised Yoav is that, on paper, his brand of electronica-tinged pop rock - created solely with looped sounds provided by an acoustic guitar - could make him the next biggest thing. But in terms of meeting the initial intrigue his debut, Charmed & Strange, falls disappointingly short. 

There’s no doubt that Yoav is a talented and creative musician with a more than tolerable singing voice, but the pseudo-angsty, breathy vocals he uses on Charmed & Strange sound like a post-boy band era solo effort from a member of the Backstreet Boys. And for someone who is essentially a singer-songwriter the lyrics don’t match up either. These inconsistencies makes it seem as if there were other hands stirring the pot, convincing Yoav to go in a different direction to seize mainstream success. 

It’s easy to understand what Yoav is trying to do - stand out from the bevy of singer-songwriters saturating the industry - but there’s something unconvincing about his delivery. The one exception (although it’s still a point of contention) is the last track “Where is my mind.” A warmer, more pared down version of the original by the Pixies, it’s an interesting interpretation although some Pixies die-hards may disagree.

The simple complexity of the instrumentation on “Club Thing” is enough to garner a head nod, but the vocals sound pleading and the spoken bridge ruins the song’s momentum. “One By One” also could benefit from a singer with less poppy vocals because it pulls the music in two seemingly incongruous directions. Yoav’s musicality is still quite strong, especially his ability to craft beats, and if it weren’t for his vocal delivery and lyricism Charmed & Strange would have replay value. Focusing on melding an organic sound with his obvious electronic influences will give him that.