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Neila DarNeila Dar
Album: Son Of The Stars
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 11

Neila Dar is an indie shaped project led by singer Jasmine Tommaso and guitarist Lorenzo Grassi, based in Los Angeles but incorporating contributions from musicians around the world. Accompanied by Camilo Melo on drums, Joe Bagg on organ, Lorenzo Grassi on guitar and Jasmine Tommaso on vocals, 'Son Of The Stars' comes after the title track initially appeared as a single that kickstarted the project in 2014.

It's a set of eleven tunes inspired by some of Southern California's most evocative landscapes: the Pacific Ocean, the urban cosmos of Greater Los Angeles, and the vast wilderness of the High Desert. One that takes the listener on a winding musical journey - a sound they call vintage avant-garde, where the known and the unpredictable sit together. From the opening canine howls that introduce 'Western Dream' that follows a path that crosses Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone, across a dry and deserted landscape, there's a feel that we're going to be encountering the good, the bad and possibly the ugly. Clean and crisp guitar Americana evolves into relaxed lounge pop amidst an laidback and dreamy ambience. while the ease of 'Desert Song' erupts unexpectedly into life.

The mid album lull - you can imagine the moment in the gig where "we're gonna take things down a little" - gets replaced by a hypnotic low fi synth on 'Roll The Dice' and a lively bit of ska on 'Scubudubidaba'; the FATEA acoustic spectrum taking a diversion to the mod revival with a nod to The Beat and The Selector. They are minor diversions as the gist of 'Son Of The Stars' is an overwhelmingly comfortable cool and jazzy (maybe too jazzy for Inbetweeners fans) experience. Perfect muzak for an 'in the clubs, late night, deep crimson velvet, end of the evening' vibe; dare we say seduction music!? If the album is as they say, "All about love, freedom and adventure," then mission accomplished.

Mike Ainscoe