ONE by ANOUSH is a fun and enigmatic pop album with a brilliant combination of jazz and reggae influences. What really sells its sound though, is its consistently excellent vocal style.
The first track, Lighthouse keeps the instrumental relatively straightforward, with a motif developed on the piano and then built up and evolved as the piece goes on. This allows the attention to be on the vocals right from the get-go. They have a refined subtlety as if the vocalist is holding a small amount back. This helps to create that sense of mystery that follows throughout the whole album. This sense of subtlety also allows the emotions that do creep out to feel extremely meaningful. When her cadence changes at a low point on her register, her delivery gives us space to lament on that detail, accentuating the specifics of the song and drawing the listener in.
A later track, Cherry On Top, changes the tune of the album significantly, with an exploration of the reggae side of the album. The track has a syncopated guitar and an addictive rhythm that makes you want to nod your head. This bold creative turn shows an alternative angle on the album. It's that diversity that elevates the project as a whole. The vocals work equally well through this piece, showing a level of comfort and adeptness within a variety of genres. Still, even with a more complex instrumental, the vocals glide above it and lead the sound.
Library is a personal favourite of mine. It has this quiet discordance that perfectly mirrors the feeling of uncertainty and vulnerability that comes from discovering a new relationship. The piano on this track is immaculate and the aching strings add a drama to the composition that amplifies the emotional boldness of the track.
Another outlier on this album is Progress, with a more modern production style, a punchy drum machine, and a bouncy bassline, the track has a swagger and confidence that, once again changes the vibe of the album drastically. It's a testament to the creative vision of Anoush that this eclectic collection manages to come together so coherently. There is clearly a strong vision behind this album and I love its commitment to explore such a wide variety of musical tones and styles.