Courtney's unique, heart-rending pipes instantly place her in a category all her own, yet her insistent, rebellious delivery mingled with a sharp musical sensibility and a knack for snapping off bait-and-hook couplets bring to mind a more urban Caitlin Cary, or perhaps a decidedly less fuzzy Hope Sandoval.
Taking her professional cue from such indie icons as Ani DiFranco and Gillian Welch, Yasmineh has spent the past decade honing her craft ‘round the Midwest, slowly but surely building a respectable fan base by resolutely playing a seemingly unending stream of live shows. During that time, she’s refined her song-writing talents to a sharp edge, developed a close, harmonic working relationship with some key musicians, and cut a passel of sparkling, uplifting indie rock nuggets in the studio.
Sufi Line, recorded and produced by Rob Genadek in the Twin Cities, is a delicious mish-mash of superbly crafted pop masterpieces and sultry, late-night ballads. Courtney’s voice is in top form here, and her backing band couldn’t shine much brighter were they huddling ‘round Emmylou Harris or Lucinda Williams -- these long-time sessioneers not only play her songs as if they’re their own, but seem to connect with Yasmineh on that subtle yet powerful level only truly close musical compatriots can.
A quick scan at their names finds a score of familiar players -- guitarists Dean Magraw and Dirk Freymuth, Honeydogs keyboard man Jeff Victor, much sought-after bassist Jim Anton, master jazz-rock drummer JT Bates, and several special guests combine to forge a sound that’s every bit as soul-stirring and memorable as any recent work by the likes of Harris/Dylan cohort Daniel Lanois.
The songs here range from the rollicking bounce of album opener “Soda Pop Girl,” which sports teasing lyrics (“...your hand sliding up my skirt/you were always such a flirt...”) against a heartbreak backdrop, to the downright alluring licks populating “Perfidious,” the tastefully nasty, back-alley kiss of “Let The Boat Burn,” and the longing ache of “Come To Me As A Child.”
Despite the classy front lobby, behind the velvet-curtained doors of Miss Yasmineh’s personal musical saloon lies a maze of unrequited desires, pain-wracked self-realization, an’ good ol’ down an’ dirty love tales -- it’s been said before about more obvious releases, but this one really was made to play loud. Sufi Line is an album fans of soulful, from-the-heart pop/rock with a slightly twisted, self-deprecating grin will be delighted to discover...