Calgary’s Shaani Cage have become a mainstay on the scene in recent years, their textured R&B attracting a range of listeners. This fall, the younger Khan brother, Aleem, decided to put his developed songwriting on show with a solo recording. His pop songs are clear and honest, their layers building in a startlingly mature way.
There is a laid back, 70s vibe to songs on the record such as the rhythmically experimental “Madras” and the lyrically abstract, “Boneless.” Its wonky guitars and heavy rhythm section envelop the listener in a warm, downtempo haze.
Unabashed love song, “Deluxe,” is a highlight, its harmonies recalling the intimacy of Kevin Drew’s work, while sultry guitar licks develop its atmosphere. “Gum” swells with vocal harmonies before fading into a soft, guitar lullaby. Khan begins to sing passionately and the song is reinvented again. The drama and intrigue of “Navy” tumbles over listeners, the album ending on an unfinished note.
Aleem Khan’s refreshing take on pop is old school in a way that makes listeners feel at home. For Khan’s listeners, oftentimes his peers, his music provides comfort within the turbulence of adolescence.
Top Tracks: “Boneless,” “Deluxe”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) + *swoop*