THE air feels solid with female singers, but Nadine Khouri cuts through in a flash. Her music is a haunting collection of songs on loss and transformation.
Khouri is British Lebanese, and brings a Middle Eastern melisma to her singing. Her voice is the calling card here, a real find amid the warbling songbirds.
Dark and low, it also has that certain something to take the listener to another place. Producer John Parish (best known for working with PJ Harvey) has arranged the material with great care, and The Salted Air shines with atmosphere and inventive instrumentation.
Daybreak is especially evocative, as is the closing Catapult. Not all of the songs are of the same standard, but even the lesser material contributes to the darkest hour giving way to the dawn atmosphere. Her Jeff Buckley tribute Shake It Like A Shaman doesn’t quite achieve the intensity it aspires to, feels unfinished and jars the overall effect.
Like PJ Harvey however, this is a performer with something to say. Now all that’s needed is time to develop.