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Friday, June 28, 2013

Zain Lodhia - The Leap

Zain Lodhia - The Leap
2013, Zain Lodhia
Lodhia opens with the rhythmic feel of "Lost For Words". This is a catchy number that's a bit messy in composition, but one is left with a sense that this is stylistic rather than a reflection on talent. Lodhia has a low-key voice that fits well in the instrumental wrap he's constructed, and there's great energy in this little tune. "Beautiful Devotion" is presented as a low key dance tune that's quietly frenetic. This will probably do well on the dance floor, but the style is a bit too formulaic for serious listeners. "Lifetime" is another formula pop tune, this time an upbeat ballad built on Caribbean rhythms. This transitions into "The Leap", a solid pop/rock number awash in effects. This dressing might be sonically appealing to some, but they distract from the quality of the songwriting. The lyrics are a bit rote, perhaps, but the melody is memorable, and Lodhia ties it all together with one of his best vocal performances on the album. 
"I Wonder" is a song of reflection on love's discovery. It plays to the sort of simplified formulae that are successful on commercial radio, but the poetry is trite and ham handed. "Send Me Away" is bland, even with the addition o guest vocalist Katie Foster in the chorus. Lodhia strips things down a bit at the outset of "Keep Breathing", one of the better moments on the album. It seems that when Lodhia is able to keep the arrangements unfettered by electronics he makes more of an impression. The desire to play with the sound too much holds away all too often on The Leap, all too often drowning out Lodhia's best moments. 
This happens again on "Long Run", a simple ballad with wall of sound pretensions. Lodhia is overpowered by his own arrangement, which manages to turn messy a times.  "Close" is a nice radio-ready ballad that soars in Zain Lodhia's sweet tenor. The song works because Lodhia lets the song be, not bathing in it in the usual electronic wash.   "Shadow Of Your Light" is an angst-filled pop song with bubblegum pretensions. The juxtaposition of message and style is a bit jarring in this instance. 
"Dreams Out Loud" is a messy and I'll-fit love song that never gels. Lodhia  follows up with "Make It Through", a list song variant with a cookie cutter chorus. Lodhia proves the point with his acoustic version of "Lost For Words". This is a nice piece of songwriting that works much better in an acoustic setting. Lodhia closes with a hidden track entitled "Perfect World", a bland afterthought.
Zain Lodhia shows off a distinctive talent on The Leap, although it’s all too often buried under too many layers of sound.  The composition and production on The Leap is distracting.  When a song features Lodhia with stripped down instrumentation he has a very appealing sound.  The Leap  generally seems built around a conceptualization of style that is intended to be commercial, but actually works to distill the talents of the artist. 
Rating:           3 Stars (Out of 5)
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