Bedouine – Bedouine Review

bedouine selftitled

Solo Songwriter + Spacebomb Records = Another Success.
Spacebomb Records, 2017
Purchase: Spacebomb Records / Amazon

8.0 / 10

Hearing in an interview that Natalie’s Prass’s 2015 self-titled album inspired Bedouine’s self-titled debut isn’t all that surprising for two reasons. The first reason is that Prass’s album is really damn good. And second, Bedouine shares a lot of common ground. That second point is intentional, though. When songwriter Azniv Korkejian was writing Bedouine, she wanted to take it to Spacebomb Records for their symphonic treatment. She did, and they did their thing, and now we have an excellent album.

So let’s flesh out the story a little bit. Azniv Korkejian is new on the scene, and she was discovered (give or take) by Gus Seyffert. He’s a guy whose name may not ring a bell quite yet, but you’ve absolutely heard his work before, whether that be with Beck, Norah Jones, Sia, or Adele. He has my infinite appreciation for providing the outstanding bass in Sean Rowe‘s The Salesman and the Shark. His chance encounter with Korkejian resulted in her recording “Solitary Daughter” in a single take. You won’t see this track in the “Key Tracks” section appended to this review, but let me assure you that it’s not because the track isn’t great — it’s just a testament to how good most of Bedouine is.

After cutting an album’s worth of songs, Korkejian took her record to Spacebomb Records where they added tasteful string accompaniments. If you’ve heard Natalie Prass, you’ll have a good reference point. However, Bedouine is more intimate. While Spacebomb was basically a co-author on Natalie Prass, Trey Pollard, Matthew E. White, and company simply add body to these compositions rather than completely transform them. As far as comparisons go, both of these albums are great and worth your time. Korkejian’s vocals are a bit stronger and carry more soul, but Prass’s album is slightly more playful.

There are other favorable comparisons to make. But they are nearly all of the older “adult-contemporary” variety, such as Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, or Carole King. In any other hands, Bedouine’s finger-picked guitar and carefully articulated vocals might come off as baroque or distant. On Bedouine, it’s disarming, largely due to Korkejian’s knack for subverting expectations. For example, in the first track, “Nice and Quiet”, a calm, steady verse gives way to a softly scuttling chorus with multi-layered vocals. On “Mind’s Eye”, the chorus is smooth and dreamy. However, the verses are lovingly stilted. But even without any hidden tricks up her sleeve, Korkejian knows how to work a beautiful melody on songs like “Back to You”, “One of These Days”.

Bedouine operates in a genre that’s seen it all, and yet, it still feels entirely new. This is the rare album that — and I mean this as an absolute compliment — that you and your mom can both agree on.

Key Tracks:
“One of These Days”
“Mind’s Eye”
“Nice and Quiet”
“Back to You”