Written By: Lindsey Hecht
Label: Brushfire – Rating:
Zee Avi, originally Izyan Alirahman, is an acoustic singer-songwriter from Malaysia who can easily perk your interest with her innate talent. Discovered through word of mouth and videos posted on YouTube, Avi has taken the influence of positive feedback and managed to turn that into a career. Though her initial sound, both vocally and instrumentally, might seem rather familiar, give her debut album a chance. After one run through, I became a fan.
Avi’s lyrics are soulful and natural as she uses simple phrases to express herself through convoluted metaphors. In her third track she sings, “Oh my darling honey bee / I’ll come save you / Even if it means / I have to face the queen.” This track strikes a chord within me, as I’m sure we’ve all had the chance to stand up for love – whether or not we’ve taken the leap in the end.
The majority of her tracks act as slow and steady vehicles, which is demonstrated throughout ‘First of the Gang to Die,’ ‘The Story,’ and ‘Let Me In.’ However, it is evident that Avi has no problems exploring playful tunes founded by her skills on the Ukulele, like in ‘Kantoi,’ or the acoustic guitar, like in her hit single ‘Bitter Heart.’ Yet, regardless of the instrument played behind the scenes, Zee has vocals that keep you wrapped in the warmth of her album.
Her voice has the ability to rise and fall abruptly between notes leaving my heart to skip a beat at the end of nearly every lyrical line. Each song pulls me in, and her jazzy folk-pop inspires me to snap my fingers along to the catchy rifts of ‘Poppy,’ among other tracks.
At the mere age twenty-three, it appears that Avi has the gift of time on her side. With an already blossoming talent – I can only imagine that she will ripen with age, and I look forward to what she has to offer.