ZoZe Music 2014
Bare-nerve emotions from the pastoral underbelly of NYC.
There’s a wild side to New York that everybody knows about, but Sarah Schrift, a chanteuse and an artist whose painting graces the cover of this album, sees the world in a different light – as does guitarist Sasha Markovic, whose cinematic vision found a focus on his band YAGULL’s "Films". As an acoustic duo, the two create lyrically raw, if musically sweet, sketches which require attention for their message to cut through the pieces’ simplicity, although more often than not there’s an inner monologue in these lines as opposed to signal sent into the ether. That’s why the pull of opener “Everwas” lies in its rejection of connection – “I don’t call your name / I don’t know you now” – over the exquisite lace, and “That girl can sing the hell out of a song” description of “Angie” fits its somewhat aloof performer just right.
The walk can get hot for “Seawitch,” full of vaudeville panache and gentle rocking, yet it’s a cold city, Brooklyn setting of “Second Stop” providing no escape from it all and “Kubrick” not allowing one to “change the station.” In such a state, the ghostly backing vocals and distant piano in “Gnt,” courtesy of Kana Kamitsubo, perfectly capture jealousy and regret before the feeling migrates to “R For Regret” which sails on in a harmonic fog and a contemplative strum, while an a cappella closer of “Egret” finds the owner of that smoldering voice float and fly alone again. But “Survivalist” wrings a waltz out of blues to leave hope hang in the air, so albeit the ivories-led march of “Wish” wraps the wonder into a wide-eyed sadness, the beauty of this vision doesn’t sour the mood – it soars instead. Bare-nerve means sensual, doesn’t it?