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By Robert M. Sutton

AllAboutJazz.com, April 16, 2009


Chordaholic is not a band, but one man: singer/songwriter Anoush Khazeni. Nevertheless, the songs on Somewhere Between Hope & Despair have the weight of a group effort, as if Khazeni cloned himself to jam with each doppelganger. Usually these faux bands produce a tinny, bottom-empty sound, often resulting in sonic excess as there is no sense of discipline.  That isn't the case with Chordaholic as Khazeni seems more focused on the art of songwriting itself than showing off his technical skills or studio tools.


"Like a Melody" is life-affirming soulful pop with a slightly funky backbeat. Khazeni's soft-spoken hooks are a refreshing alternative to the in-your-face bombast of many of today's young artists. However, Khazeni isn't so subtle that the song's gentle qualities are buried in the now trendy indie-rock approach of keeping everything coy. Rather, his approach seems to be rooted in the boyish melodicism of vintage Beatles and the sun-soaked balladry of Classics IV.


A few tracks are imbued with dreamy tones, namely "A Reason and a Rhyme" and "Automatic." Khazeni uses his acoustic guitar to either create atmospheric textures ("A Reason and a Rhyme," especially) or provide the driving rhythm, as on "Out of This World," which is fueled by some spellbinding riff action. This isn't some bland strum job; there is creativity in Khazeni's selection of chords. "Footprints" begins slowly but then suddenly bursts with energy, bathing listeners with a shower of warm vocal harmonies. Lovely. On "Butterflies," Khazeni surprises with a bluesy kiss, revealing another side to his artistry that further solidifies his position of wanting to be more than just another singer/songwriter with an acoustic guitar.

 

The following are snippets of feedback and comments from random listeners on the song "A Reason And A Rhyme" off the album "Somewhere Between Hope & Despair" as collected by the song review process at garageband.com:


"Art, Craft, Science & Magic, search for the middle ground if you will, it is not to be found here. Fantastic song, quietly meandering through its layerings as it progresses to an impressively restrained climax."

- Listener from Hazelbrook, New South Wales, Australia


"The electric guitar punctuations between lines in the second verse are executed very well. This is a very good song. The riot of melodic ideas at the end (2 distinct vocal lines and chiming guitar motif blend nicely together. Love the string coda-- especially the way it cuts off so abruptly. Very well done! A fine song!! This is a very refreshing example of great songwriting!"

- Listener from Ft. Smith, Arkansas


"Very catchy. Good hook. Sweetness. I'm lovin' the mood on this."

- Listener from Rocky Mount, Virginia


"The song has a nice laid back atmosphere. Sounds are bright and you can hear each instrument doing their work well. Nice use of strings there. The production is professional and there is a lot of space in the sound. Nice pop song."

- Listener from Rock City, Finland


"Nice little hook/call line after chorus on the electric guitar. Really great, smooth backing vocal track. The end has a nice build, becomes rich with other parts. Great way to end the track grabbing the listeners attention again. Sweet, mellow, well crafted tune."

- Listener from New York


"I like the guitar sound here. sounds like a warm breeze in hawaii. the vocal match it perfectly! class A tune!"

- Listener from Greenfield, Tennessee


"I love the acoustic guitar vibe in this song."

- Listener from Seattle, Washington