Khamari – A Brief Nirvana

A finely crafted debut statement...

Khamari is realising his truth. The much-hyped R&B riser is generating headlines on a daily basis, but all her cares about is the craft – a songwriter with an old soul, he’s able to blend R&B tropes with something idiosyncratic, and unique to his voice. Terse, poetic and succinct, ‘A Brief Nirvana’ is a potent debut full length.

The album opens with ‘Wax Poetic’, a song that explicitly deals with Khamari attempting to find his voice. “I’ve been tongue tied… words don’t come easy these days” he sings, a track that suggests artistry isn’t something that flows easily – it has to be worked for. A truly gorgeous vocalist, Khamari switches it up on the spartan, acoustic-led ‘Doctor, My Eyes’ before allowing the electronic beat to re-assert itself on ‘Drifting’, his voice melded to gospel aspects.

A finessed and carefully constructed album, ‘A Brief Nirvana’ has a tightly wound arc where each sonic aspect has its place. ‘Cherry Picking’ is a sensual listen, while the sombre ‘A Sacred Place’ asks: “What if I could make a believer out of you?”

A project that utilises everything from a voice note sent to him by his grandfather to the latest electronics, ‘A Brief Nirvana’ seems to know when to reveal, and when to withhold. Contrast the slow and easy soul of ‘Tell Me’ for example with the sing-along camp fire charms ‘Right My Wrongs’, absorbing a deft interpolation of Darondo’s ‘Didn’t I’ in the process.

‘These Four Walls’ may offer rugged, unrelenting introspection, but Khamari is at his graceful best on ‘On My Way’, a palette cleanser before potent finale ‘Requiem’. A work of real wonder and promise, ‘A Brief Nirvana’ finds this Boston-born talent fighting for his independence. Eschewing the trend for features-focussed, lengthy albums he instead zeroes in on his own creative desires – a work of defiance, ‘A Brief Nirvana’ is a sparkling introduction.


Words: Robin Murray

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