REVIEW: Fereshta - Global Citizen
Origin: Afghanistan; Los Angeles, CA
It's not very often that you hear about an artist whose roots spawn to war-torn Afghanistan. While Fereshta has been in the U.S. for quite some time now, there appears to be a sense of longing for the nation on Global Citizen, perhaps to go back to those roots and make sense of what it's like there versus here. This isn't reason to provide comparison or contradiction, but rather to bring a sense of unity to the table, that maybe she wishes to see through everyone and everything that we are all the same on the inside. Such is the case in her lyrics on this album - in the works for the last three years - which proves that she has the emotional drive to determine to herself that she must find meaning amidst the current chaos. Admirable, but does it help bring her out into the musical realm?
Fact of the matter is, her lyrics are pretty serious. I understand that she wants to be the "Global Citizen" and represent the people as a unity than a separate entity, but at times the message comes off as more politically charged than emotionally realized. I'm not suggesting that artists can't or shouldn't use such messages to drive their lyrics, but as suggestively straight-forward as they are found here, the creative or more natural expressive elements about them sort of take a sidestep in favor of telling you exactly how it is.
And while her lyrics provide underlying serious undertones, everything else about Global Citizen is rather generic. She makes continued references to the "Motherland" and the oppression of people on tracks such as "Untie My Hands" and "Human Frailty," but given that her vocals are subdued in the style of PJ Harvey or Heather Nova, the themes come off as more laid back and less empowering, as if to assume she has something to say about it, but not necessarily do something about it. Not to say that her performance flatlines, but there come points where her emotion comes misconstrued. The ultimate goal of her lyrics are now more restricted to a style that doesn't deem them the opportunity to shine.
Her supporting musicians, too, offer a range of rock that's all over the board without feeling different, sounding something similar to nightly performances at the House of Blues. These sounds are fine if the mood is appropriate, but they don't support Fereshta's lyrical position. She prides on "peace and love," but the title track or "Wonderlust" are these rockabilly numbers that only offer to provide reason to give Fereshta a proper single, as if the rest of the album was deemed too serious in tone. They give you the feeling that the heart was in the right place, but not nearly enough of it was there to sweep you away with it. The aforementioned track "Untie My Hands" is more of an exception to this case, which at least provides a better blend of different instruments and balanced levels of instrumental use.
The musical elements are on par at best, but Global Citizen is clearly marked by her lyrics. As mentioned above, they provide listeners with a sense of the singer's emotional toll based on rediscovering her roots, and at times they can deliver. Using her influenced delivery, however, she somewhat turns it into more of a laid back political message than a wholly creative and expressive experience, which I can imagine might keep some listeners held back looking for more good ole-fashioned rock. Considering her vocal style matched with her supporting musicians' consistent if predictable rock sensibility, her writing feels a little mismatched, but as a debut artist looking to find a voice of her own, I believe she has and will have the ability to pull it off in time.
Fereshta - "Motherland"
Fereshta - "Untie My Hands"
You can find the rest of Fereshta's Global Citizen through Amazon or iTunes.