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Album Review

With his brother Faris, Salim Nourallah was half of the imaginatively named Nourallah Brothers. They released one album together, 2001's self-titled affair, before heading their separate ways. That album was a charming, low-key one with hints of the Pernice Brothers and influenced by bands like the Kinks and the Who. On Polaroid, Salim focuses mainly on the earthier aspect of the brothers' sound, apart from a couple of experimental songs like the clever cocktail jazz-based "We Did All the Right Things" and the Casio and cheap drum machine "Model Brothers." Mostly he is content to go the guitars-and-drums route — not that that is a bad thing, not when it is done with skill and grace. Salim has a light touch both lyrically and musically that helps him avoid the trap of sameness and banality that too many introspective singer/songwriters can't escape. It helps that most of the songs seem to be about his relationship with his brother, which is a topic that isn't often sung about. The best songs on the album are the ones with the most energy. When Nourallah's pleasantly raspy voice is matched with hyper-melodic choruses like on "1978" (which sounds and feels a lot like Jackson Browne's "Somebody's Baby") and the rollicking "One Foot Stuck in the Past," the album takes flight. The rest of the time the album is still very strong and always listenable with only a couple of tracks that are a little weak like the draggy untitled song that ends the album and also like the opening song, "Everybody Wants to Be Loved." Polaroid is a small-scale album that deals with large-scale emotions and along the way comes up with a batch of very pleasing pop songs. By any measure of the word, that is success. Think Wilco with no pretension or a Wallflowers with sonic imagination and then think about hunting this record down.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Salim Nourallah is a songwriter and vocalist whose resumé ranges from quiet ballads to rave-up rock. Nourallah first came to the public's attention in 2001 with the release of two very different albums -- Nourallah Brothers, a collection of intelligent and atmospheric pop songs written and recorded with his brother Faris Nourallah, and Self-Improvement?, the uptempo power pop-styled debut from Salim's other group, the Happiness Factor. In 2003, Salim also launched a solo...
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Polaroid, Salim Nourallah
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