Again is a new EP from Keren Botaro, a Tel Aviv born artist who currently lives in the US. I expected this to be a rather standard “pop” release, but it turned out to be much more impressive and interesting than anything I anticipated. Keren’s (and her fellow performers’) eclectic range of rock influences and keen sense of style are on full display here.
Botaro may photograph like a pop star, but the music blends elements of psychedelia, lounge, blues and even mod. The awesome Farfisa sounds incorporated into these songs are the stuff of a combo organ fetishist’s dreams. Everything just sounds so authentic. If I heard this album on the radio, I would genuinely think these songs had been recorded in 1968. These people really have nailed the vintage tone and classic rock essence flawlessly. The guitars are awesome and made me feel like I was listening to a Jefferson Airplane record in an old coffee house. I highly recommend watchng the videos for these tracks because they really do a great job of conveying the ambiance.
Keren’s vocals certainly keep up their end of the bargain as well. Her voice is excellent, and stylistically she’s like a rock’n’roll version of a lounge singer. She projects passionately and belts out the songs with confidence and emotion. Her voice is full and combines with her dynamic visual stage presence to really make a performative statement. Really, not enough can be said about what a fine vocalist Keren Botaro is. Style, substance and technical singing ability, most singers tend to find ways to compensate for whichever one they lack, but she actually excels in all three categories.
The first two tracks Fire and Free Bird are guitar driven and the most hard hitting (rock wise,) while Drops in the Rain and Again are more mellow paced and indie pop, kind of like The Velvet Underground and Nico if I had to make a comparison. All in all, this is a powerful little EP that punches well above its weight musically. I don’t even have any criticisms or nitpicks of it, but I will say that I’m jealous when I watch the video and see the room full of amazing vintage musical gear these guys have at their disposal.
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