Anyone reading Yoav's official biography will be understandably intrigued. It paints the Israeli-born musician as something of an innovatory genius: "Damien Rice produced by N*E*R*D!", it proclaims imposingly, whilst simultaneously namechecking Massive Attack, Beck and Radiohead with a reckless abandon usually reserved for.. err.. Radiohead. It's not just the musical-carrots-on-sticks that act as sweeteners, either; the twenty-something Yoav has lived a rather nomadic life before achieving the sort of fairytale success (supporting Tori Amos on a recent tour, for one thing) that makes the cynicism-free amongst us coo and commend. Born in Israel to a Romanian father, the young Yoav migrated to South Africa as a child, before trying his luck as a troubadour in London, New York and Canada. It was while in New York that he hit upon the style he's now peddling: melancholic acoustic ballads tempered by guitar-based percussion, with the aid of loops and effect peddles. He's not the first to attempt such a feat, or even the best (somewhere out there, Rodrigo y Gabriela are fashioning a Yoav-shaped voodoo doll). Charmed and Strange is nowhere near as interesting or ingenious an album as it's made out to be; truthfully, it's a largely dull affair that occasionally bumps clumsily into trip-hop and atmospheric dance-oriented twitches, but is certainly not worthy of comparisons with any of the aforementioned luminaries. Beautiful Lie is one of few notable anomalies: with a voice that's part Karl Hyde, part Damien Rice, Yoav flits between pangs of strummed guitar and austere plucking to nice effect, while Yeah, The End's slide guitar riff and hip-hop bent immediately draws parallels with Beck's Loser. The closing track, a cover of The Pixies' Where Is My Mind?, however, is utterly awful in its wilful triteness. In the live forum, he may well be a different prospect - but Charmed and Strange a totally underwhelming debut that's neither charming nor genuinely strange. Don't believe the hype.
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