Brooklyn, New York based French-Algerian singer, songwriter, pianist, and ukulele player Ourida treats us to a wonderful musical delight with Wings. Ourida combines jazz, pop, rock along with blue and folk music to make music that is truly universal. She spices up rock with folk characteristics along with jazz and has years of experience performing in Parisian cafes and venues. We can hear Norah Jones, Amy Winehouse, and Nina Simone in her musical DNA. The album Wings has 4 French songs and 8 in English.
The album begins with a track quite simply titled Blues with a thick and mushy bass line. Ourida sings about leaving the familiar to face fate in the classic blues ethos to this constant bassline as guitar layers and vocals keep adding up. The second track Don’t talk begins with some ukelele chordal sprinkling and cheeky vocal delivery. The lyrics are simple and repetitive with a sparse arrangement that supplements the ukelele with jazzy drums and synths.
Deux guitares is an upbeat jazz-rock cover of the classic song by Charles Aznavour, the French-Armenian pop deity and France’s Frank Sinatra. This is an enjoyable spin on the retro track with modern basslines and the life of Ourida’s vocals. The song Berlin is an interesting track with a steady beat and some awesome oud playing by Kevin Mathis which doubles Ourida’s vocals. This song is an umbral groovy track with an impassionate outro.
Imposing and dilemma-filled piano stabs commence the catchy track BeeS. The song begins with a disco rock beat . There is a nice alternate syncopation in the rhythm of the chorus which is tastefully arranged. We hear some stunning piano playing in the outro of the song. Ourida’s joyant vocals and the energy of the track are something to look out for. G train begins with a two-second clean lead guitar tone and then proceeds into a ukulele rhythm. It’s a hummable advancing disco beat rock track that looks at New York night recreation.
Siren Song begins with an engaging groove and some sharp vocals. The last minute of the song has an engaging solo section. It has Panagiotis Andreou on the electric bass and Or Bareket on the acoustic one. Porte de la chapelle is a French song with a cascading beat and some very fascinating eastern guitar-playing vibe. It is a reference to the Paris area of the same name which has some great guitar playing by Levy.
Joker ends on a piano solo with a lot of fascinating effects such as the sound of rain and vintage synths. L’émeute which means uprising is a song with a catchy rhythm and vintage vibe. Leonard Cohen’s Dance me to the end of love is reinterpreted with a minimalist arrangement as the album’s penultimate track. The album concludes with the aptly titled Home. This is a song that gives a sense of melancholic resolution. The album ends with some laughter and the expression of a good take, something we would agree with it.
Ourida expresses the emotions of the tracks with great maturity in terms of songwriting and production. The use of innovative musical instruments on the album makes it a great piece of modern world music. Ourida plays the piano, synth, and ukelele on the album. Bass and guitar duties are mostly handled by Jonathan Levy. The album is produced with craft by Eli Crews. Crews also plays exotic instruments such as the EWI, Optigon, and the Theremin on the album. Joe Hertenstein provides some well performed and executed drums. Wings is a classy record of jazz tinged art pop with emotive songs replete with lyrical imagination on varied socio-cultural experiences.