Despite, or perhaps because of, his indie rock pedigree, Imaad Wasif is something of a classic rock purist. From 2006-2007, he toured with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs as an auxiliary guitar player, and he cut his teeth in the LA band alaska! and Palm Desert-based lowercase. The Voidist, however, his third solo album and first for Tee Pee, is everything these past and current projects aren’t.
It seems that Wasif’s heart lies in the big, traditional rock riffs and the folksy plucking of bands like Led Zeppelin and their ilk, as opposed to the dancey post-punk or lo-fi experimentation he has flirted with in other projects. An element of mysticism pervades his music, as it did on his last solo album, Strange Hexes, from the dreamy “Our Skulls” to the Olde English folksong meanderings of “Widow Wing.” These moments are nice, and showcase a confident singer/songwriter working in a medium and style that suits him well, but the traditionalism that he clings to isn’t always very exciting or inspiring. Songs like the pop-rock “Priestess,” that chug along at a brisk pace and are actually more conventional in some ways, fare better.
Over all, while one can’t argue with the conception and arrangement of Wasif’s work, there is nothing that stands out here. Perhaps that is not what he was going for. Perhaps his goal was simply to a make a no-frills rock and roll record with deft guitar playing and sweet singing that is removed from any trends or fads. In that, he has succeeded.