Saad Shehzad – Epilogue – Review

Saad ShehzadFor a multi-talented filmmaker, photographer and musician who is based in Dubai, Saad Shehzad has a rather original Americana rock sound in his music. A fan of creating kaleidoscopic chaos both visually and sonically, Shehzad just released a new debut EP, Epilogue, in April. The songs referenced below, taken from Shehzad’s new EP, are shining examples of the magic that is created out of this sonic chaos.

Saad Shehzad – Epilogue

One of the more traditional sounding indie folk acoustic guitar songs on the EP, “Winds” paints the picture of a wide-open horizon with the gusts of change blowing through your hair. A soft balladic lullaby, this song is a raw blend of folk, pop, and soft rock fused together by the coils of a steel string acoustic guitar. The lyrics, “If we ever drift apart it will never be the same,” are sung in a romantic and longing vocal delivery with heavy emphasis on the s’s and t’s, which is stylistically appropriate for a contemporary indie rock song such as this. As the song lifts up into a higher octave in the chorus, sustained crystalline backing harmonies ring out with the comforting breadth of warmly hued tones. After the second verse and chorus, the drums and electric guitar kick into a more surefire, heart throbbing arrangement that supports the vocals as they expand and contrast — the instruments breathing along with the voice as if they were one succinct unit.

Shehzad has a tasteful way of embracing the lower range of his voice in the verses with a tender, almost whisper-like scratch, while also opening up volume in the higher registers of the chorus and adding new textures of percussion and guitar ornamentation as the song progresses. “Winds” has an inspirational message of, “The winds will change, through love and pain we’ll find a way,” with equally uplifting music to accompany.

Just over one minute in duration, “Buoyant” is like a short electronic overture that features warm echoing synth timbres pulsing in sync with one another. The music grabs your attention without the need for vocals — instead the synths exchange a sort of back and forth sequence that acts as the conversation, with several layers going at a time. “Buoyant” follows a short but sweet storyline that has an exposition, rising action, climactic development, and caps off quickly with a cresting wave of falling action. Shehzad conveys the musical message with conductive force and natural brevity, demonstrating a signature preference for using psychedelic guitar timbres over top an underlying ocean of various synth waves and textures.

“Paper Boats” begins with a warbled guitar melody that revolves back and forth in a circle of surf and psychedelic rock vibes. A forward driving drum beat kicks in with a captivating dug-a-doo triplet hook rhythm, while the lyrics pose existential questions using the concept of paper boats as a metaphor for (former) lovers that drift apart through the ever-changing currents of life. The verse kicks into a rock steady groove that brings the listener back to a sense of structure from the layer cake chaos of the chorus. Shehzad has a warm and sincere tenor voice with a soft delivery that opens up broadly in upper registers. The outro of this song leaves you in a groovy trance-like state, meditating on the message that’s been floating spaciously in front of you as the thumping drumbeat fades out into an ethereal void.

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