Yusuf Azak – Prizefighter EP

Presumably bored with the excessive amounts of time and work required to produce and publicise formal releases, Yusuf Azak has made a four-song EP available for free on his Bandcamp page.

Those of you listening to it as normal, innocent punters will hear lush, lovely acoustic pop tunes, swathed in strings, piano and Yusuf’s gorgeous vocals (although the familiar looping and layering is a little less prominent here than on earlier releases).

He seems to divide opinion, Yusuf, which is odd because I don’t really think of him as the most deliberately challenging or obtuse of our artists.  Nevertheless, in conversations with people about his stuff I get a lot of baffled looks on one hand, and a lot of passionate lectures about how he is by far the best band on the label on the other.  Very few indifferent shrugs though.

From my point of view, as someone who has heard and is currently organising the nuts and bolts around releasing Yusuf’s next album, I find this EP interesting for slightly different reasons.  For me the highlight is the utterly gorgeous Swim, which is also kind of significant because it hints a little at the new album, which will be out in the spring sometime.

As well as the more familiar Yusuf stuff, with the intricate guitar and the lush strings, there are a couple of absolutely stunning piano-led songs on the album which are possibly a couple of the best things I’ve ever heard from him.  I am really looking forward to it coming out, and as soon as we finish the album artwork and get a finalised master I can let you all know the release date.  Until then, enjoy this.

Yusuf Azak – Swim