Late last year (December 12th) the debut album by New York based singer-songwriter Galia Arad sneaked out, a concept album based on a girl finding love with a young Irishman and the high’s and lows of love. The album gained a little attention and a smattering of commendable reviews here and there, but it probably didn’t register on most folks radar, which is something of a shame as it’s a bit of an underground classic that combines folk, country, pop and even jazz all delivered by Galia’s gorgeous emotive vocal tones.
The past week I’ve listened to Ooh La Baby numerous times, enjoying the subtle instrumentation, Galia’s heartfelt, playful storytelling lyrics and her gorgeous soulful croon, lapping up each of the fourteen tracks on offer and thought it was high time I offered something of a reappraisal of a real hidden gem.
The album opens with the wonderfully bright and breezy folk of I Must Have You, a gorgeous combination of acoustic guitar and shuffling beats that instantly draw you into Galia’s narrative of unrequinted love, her honeyed vocals equally lulling and seducing the listener in equal measure. From there Galia takes us on a journey through the trials and tribulations of love from the infectious pop and hook-laden chorus of the title track, through to the sophisticated jazzy tones of Something Sweet, complete with twanging electric guitar and Galia’s spirited, lifting vocals.
Elsewhere the grizzled tones of Shane MacGowan compliment Galia’s emotive croons on both Four Leaf Lover Boy and the biting, driving, horn assisted Full Of Shit, whilst Don’t Go conjures up images of parting lovers, lust and longing with the powerful couplet of “I can’t fuckin’ sleep, cos I can smell you in my sheets, please don’t go, but you will” delivered with a delicate, aching croon that can’t help yanking at the blackest of heartstrings.
Other album highlights include the fragile tender folk ballad Will I Be Loved, a cello peppered acoustic number that comes complete with a beautiful vocal that simply drips with aching passion that pours from the speaker and the poppy Britney quoting put down of Better Than Bonnie.
Ooh La Baby is a dazzling album that will find favour with anyone who enjoys mature heartfelt folk, intelligent soulful pop and clever witty lyrics direct from the soul. Galia Arad delivers an album that manages to sum up the many up’s and down’s of love in just 38 glorious minutes.
Rhythm & Booze Rating 9
Galia Arad – Ooh La Baby (ft. duets with Shane MacGowan) – Scarlet Records – December 12th
SEE GALIA ARAD LIVE IN THE UK AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL ON NOVEMBER 26th
Produced by Tommy Faragher (Taylor Dayne, Dusty Springfield, Glee, Al Green) Galia Arad is a New York City based singer/songwriter from Bloomington, Indiana, whose classical musician parents and classical voice training steered her directly into the arms of rock ‘n’ roll. Gifted with a calm, collected and playful vocal style, Faragher’s deftest of touches behind the controls allows for Arad’s voice to continually remain the focal point, above her own exemplary guitar work.
Ooh La Baby is a concept album about a girl finding love in a young Irishman. Emotive in nature, playful, and at times bitter, it’s Arad’s ability to conjure these in just the right combination that makes her the powerful songwriter she is. ‘I can’t f*ckin’ sleep ‘cos I can smell you in my sheets… please don’t go, but you will’, she muses on ‘Don’t Go’. Drawn to this bewitching writer, The Pogues’ Shane MacGowan chose to feature on 2 of the album’s key tracks ‘Four Leaf Lover Boy’ and ‘Full of Sh*t’.
Shane Macgowan says, “All she needs is a the right producer (like me) and she’ll be as rich, powerful and free as me, and Joey and everything that’s full of shit should be. Now LISTEN!”
Commended for her writing as the recipient of the Songwriter Hall of Fame’s Abe Olman award for The Great American Song, Galia Arad continues to be an interesting proposition. Sweet as punch on record, with a wickedly fun streak, and a taste for the whisky, Arad is sure to be a name on the lips of many come 2012. She is on tour in the UK
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