July 13, 2006

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Imaad Wasif, Imaad Wasif
Kill Rock Stars, 2006

Wasif’s an odd duck to have won a stage-prop rhythm-guitar gig with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, this as much for his technical preference (he’s cornered the market on Jim Croce-type finger-picked guitar chords) as his barmy nu-beatnik lyrics (which make PJ Olsson look like, well, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs). A serial moper in dire need of tragicomedy tips from Arab Strap, Wasif has the vacant look of an Eternity For Men model but the (yeah sure) tortured soul of an Angola inmate, a catnip formula guaranteed by Good Housekeeping to distract the teeny-spectacles chicks at the downstairs open mike from their last-chance-desperate notions of dorm-mate lesbianism for a minute or two — he’s one of you, man. “Spark” and “Blade” are bovine Starbucks-folk numbers whose lyrics expound ineloquently upon teeny-spectacles chicks who alternately done him wrong and done made him slash his wrists, but at last (in one of the most spectacularly nitwitted denouements in art history) outro track “Tomorrow Is Ours” makes everything swell again, straight out of left field. It should be noted that “Into the Static” has not been allergy tested for people with strong reactions to minor chords plucked for maximum deadpan gloominess, but don’t let that stop you if you’re the type who watches the end of Titanic strictly for chuckles. D+

— Eric W. Saeger


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