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September 4, 2006 | by  | in Music |
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Anji Sami – The El Dorado EP

This is Dunedin-based singer songwriter Anji Sami’s debut. At just under fifteen and a half minutes, it’s a fragile little offering that certainly promises potential, but like many EPs, it is hard to judge these five songs as anything other than fragments. What is immediately obvious is that Anji has the knack for beautifully and subtly arranging her delicate country-tinged songs, and is also blessed with a voice that puts me strongly in mind of Jenny Lewis (who I incidentally regard as one of the most stunning vocalists ever).

If Bic Runga let a little pedal steel and slide creep into her backing arrangements, and a little Texan twang into her accent, then this would be the territory she’d occupy. Opener ‘Out For The Weekend’ is as gently whimsical as an indie-folk song can be, with superb drumming from Rob Falconer one of the highlights of a high caliber assemblage of backing musicians. The one aspect to this EP that I’m a little unsure about is the country drawl, actually. On ‘El Dorado’ it’s perfectly understated, and backed by boneweary swirling pedal steel guitar manages to conjure scenes as far removed from Dunedin as may be imagined, but then she overcooks it on ‘Don’t Hide Your Love Away’ and the song slides into homage or even pastiche territory, and it never quite rings true when the Kiwi vowels slip through. It’s when she really holds back, as on the near perfect closer ‘Leaving’, that these delicate songs get the space they need to breathe, and then it’s pretty clear that this is a definite folk songwriting talent at work.

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About the Author ()

BORN WITH a cigarette in one hand and The Trial in other, Bea meant to go on as she started. Music wasn’t her first love, but her first love ended in a fight over rightful ownership of a Velvet Underground LP and the kitchen knife, so she chose the kinder option and stuck with it. In her spare time she enjoys casting aspersions, skulking, and making sweeping statements. She never checks her facts: figures it’s a way to live a little, to have arguments with people, then meet them. She’s currently writing a collection of short stories inspired by Schopenhauer’s manifesto of suffering and the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster. When it gets published, she’s pretty sure that boy will want to hold her hand.

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