In a week where the spectre of the region’s longest standing conflict reared its ugly head again (Jerusalem: Middle East’s oldest unresolved conflict) it’s strange to be writing about something as inconsequential as my latest Israeli album purchase; but perhaps that’s for the best… God only knows enough column inches are being spent on explaining and describing the escalation of violence across Israel and Palestine the last few days.
Whilst in Tel Aviv this week I picked up a new Israeli album by Daniela & Ben Spector which has been pretty much on repeat since I uploaded it onto my iPod. Thinking back to when I first moved to Israel, Daniela Spector was one of the few Israeli artists that populated my iPod; and I can still remember in one of our first weeks here in Jerusalem venturing out to see her perform at our local music venue, The Yellow Submarine, alongside a host of other up and coming Israeli indie-alternative singers. Anyway after the success of her first album she has now released her new album, “Love Is”, this time along with her husband and sound engineer, Ben Spector. And to answer what I know you must all be thinking, he is indeed (distantly) related to the infamous music producer Phil Spector.
Whereas her first album was sung in Hebrew her new album is sung completely in English. I think one of the joys I get from listening to music sung in Hebrew (or indeed in any foreign language I have tried to learn) is the way I over time gradually begin to understand new sections of a song’s lyrics as my Hebrew slowly improves; so on that note I was slightly disappointed that they chose to sing in English. But really this matters little when their album is so rewarding in other ways; take for instance the refreshing shift in her style from the simple (but near faultless) singer-songwriter songs of her first album to something a little more electro/synth influenced, something a little more daring – part Charlotte Gainsbourg, part Au Revoir Simone. All-in-all the perfect album to put on the stereo on this cold and wet Thursday night here in Jerusalem whilst doing your best to avoid, for tonight at least, the barrage of ugly news stories going on around here.
Anyway, I find it hard to put a description of music into words at the best of the times so I will leave you with a couple of videos from their album. And for those who wish to give the whole album a go you can listen to it for free here.