Karim Fanous - Promo
Dan Round 02/10/2006
Musically Karim Fanous could be described as a spicy fusion of jazz, blues, funk and soft rock, and vocally as an odd combination of Clapton and, erm… Jamie T (certainly Karim's lyrics reminiscent of 2006's new indie champion). When he swoons, for example, the bluesman really shines, yet when he talk-sings his quite “everyday” lyrics about love and modern life in general, the accent really peaks out. At times the clash of textures is too hard to stomach as in opener Superbug, the best example of atonal clashing on this promo E.P. With jazz-funk slap bass, a bluesy chorus and an accented verse with quirky lyrics about the “misunderstandings between men and women” the song just pushes the formula one step too far.
However on track 2, Perfume, a more rocky number with soaring, raspy vocals, and a deep soul sound Fanous is more focused. Karim describes the song's meaning as “being a prisoner of your own desire”, and is the most mature, developed and without doubt best song on the E.P. The accompanying video on the separate, lovingly packed DVD too highlights Perfume's tender smithery and inventive guitar work. Final track, Sometimes contains his most frank, simplistic lyrics yet (e.g. “sometimes I feel I've lost all hope” and much more in the same mould). Not poet-laureate standards, the lyrics don't astound or jump out at you, but nether less sit nicely along side the clear, well constructed melody.
Overall then, Karim Fanous at times raises eyebrows on this collection, but not because of faulting musicianship, more so the previously unthinkable combination of comparative artists and genres. An interesting then, if not musically or lyrically fresh, group of songs by a man with great singer-songwriter aspirations and a passion for hum-able and traditional melodies.