Kuwaisiana drops its new album, Chapter 1, today. Put together by Kuwaiti singer-songwriter +Aziz, this band from New Orleans amalgamates elements of funk, rock, and reggae, with evocative poetic lyrics blending the day-to-day lives of Arab-American youth and the evolving viewpoint of Khaleejis living in the Arabian Peninsula.
The band has opened for Three Commons, Giant Kitty, The Kominas, and The Painted Hands.
Chapter 1 contains nine tracks. Combining traditional Arabic flavors with reggae and indie-rock, “Vintage” is a brightly colored tune with a hint of country western. +Aziz’s voice is smooth and easy to listen to, while the horns provide gleaming accents. “Murra” oozes sensuous Latin jazz flavors reminiscent of Sade. The glowing horns infuse the music with a thick essence, like sonic molasses. Galloping, polyrhythmic percussion gives the tune a potent groove that’s almost tribal.
“Gabba Barra,” a song about the expulsion of Sufis from the Gulf Cooperation Council, is a potent Arabic, rock-pop infused tune that, as it closes, assumes a smooth, cool jazz essence that’s gorgeously seductive. “Nada” rides indie-rock and reggae aromas blended with an almost post-punk guitar. The song reminds me of The Police covering Bob Marley, with a brass section. It’s quite good.
“Virgin” features discordant horns and jarring sound effects traveling on a jazzy reggae platform. The bassline really pops on this song, especially as a stellar sax solo mounts with rasping hues. This might be my favorite tune on the album because of its skyrocketing energy and riffing guitars.
“Men In Power” features a meandering baroque flavor, drawling and almost twangy, as if blending country western and gospel. When the music ramps up, it assumes a hoedown feel full of tinny sounds and a droning synth. “The Journalist” exudes rumbling R&B filaments combined with wisps of dark jazz fusion and indie-rock. +Aziz really struts his voice on this tune, rasping, growling, and screaming with incandescent energy.
“Say Yea” is a rootsy reggae tune full of skanking guitars, a cool one-drop groove, and multi-colored horns.
Chapter 1 is amazingly excellent. The mixture of reggae, rock, funkadelic pop, and Arabic sonic patterns produces thrilling harmonics, a kind of reckless dynamism, and hormonal exuberance. Kuwaisiana definitely has talent and Chapter 1 is worthy of your attention.