This is my first chance to listen to this band so it is ironic it is their last album. Also, please note that I’m approaching this review from a simple music lover, not an expert reviewer.
I had heard some great things about the songs from some of my Iranian friends so I thought I’d check the album out. If you’d like to check out a song yourself, you can get it through Amazon here: The Arian Band Goodbye Album
These songs are in Persian but as the sign of a good song is being able to enjoy it no matter what the language, I listened to these from the point of hearing for the emotion and passion in each song rather than understanding the lyrics.
The songs tend to start with an introductory chord or other piece of music that has limited connection to the rest of the song, similar in style to 70s and 80s songs. Nowadays, the intro sound to modern songs tells you immediately what you’re supposed to do with the song: dance; chill; cry; etc, so if you regularly listen to modern style music, you may be a bit confused to start with. I however was quite pleased to hear this style being used again and looked forward to each surprise!
Being one to listen to remixes and extended mixes, getting used to songs that are about 3 minutes in length meant I ended up wanting to hear more after each song. This is of course a good sign as the songs are quite relaxed and enjoyable, and lend to repeat listening.
The Arian Band’s Goodbye Album is a mix of Persian, modern dance and techno, some 80s electronica, some traditional music and some relaxed songs that really show the range that this band is capable of. The mix of violin sounds with electric piano was quite refreshing and original, and added some romanticism and nice melodies to the music. Many of the scores definitely sounded like something from the 70s or 80s, or similar in style to modern songs that reflect a 70s or 80s influence such as Orinoco Flow by Enya or My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion. This album consists of mostly electronica with vocals style songs so if you love this kind of music, or would prefer modern music to be like this, this is the album for you.
The singer focuses on his upper vocal range throughout the songs and I find this a delight as his voice lends a more relaxed lilt to the lyrics without seeming forced. I definitely prefer the higher octaves or almost countertenor singing (not quite falsetto) when listening to music and Ali’s performance is enjoyable, singing in fast and slow tempos with attractive dynamics, faultless placement and smooth resonance, and crescendos nicely blended between intonations.
While some of the songs seem to have a set range – they don’t play too high or too low in the register, the range doesn’t control the singer and allows him greater flexibility with his own ability.
I enjoyed the slightly Irish chords in Bargard and Ali Pahlavan’s slow singing which initially reminded me of Celine Dion’s song from Titanic but then moved into more late 80s, early 90s beats for night club dancing. I’m sure I danced to something with this kind of beat in the 90s and of the songs on the album, this is probably the most modern one. Ideal for clubbing and, if you’ve heard the song Crazy Frog by Axel F, you’ll definitely spot the influence here. This song would lend itself perfectly to an extended remix. This is also a song that you’ll probably find ends up as the ear worm for the album!
In Bishtar there is a nice backing arrangement with some soft female tones complementing Ali’s. This song is a slight departure from Arian’s other songs on the album with an increase in reverb and echo, lending more to a song that could be danced to at parties and weddings when the dance needs to be a bit uptempo, but not yet at the speed of a dance club. This is the sort of song I expect to hear from Persian collections so I believe this is probably the most traditional song on the album. This is also probably the most Irish sounding song in the collection.
Deltangi-Haa is a very sad song and Ali’s vocals project much regret and loss. If you’re in the mood for a song that makes you feel homesick or like you’re missing something or want something, then this song will do that, and probably also break your heart. The violin and acoustic guitar accompaniments are immensely powerful. This is not a song to dance to, rather one to listen to in quiet reflection. Ali is able to use most of his vocal range in this song and his backing singers help bring through some lovely notes. The ticking of a clock at the beginning and the end also adds to the passage of time and suggestion of things that can never come back.
Faseleh is an interesting song in that, at the beginning I thought I’d be getting up to dance a few numbers at a modern nightclub, (a nice techno lead-in), but then it went slow and soft, with fast and slow breaks throughout, but with an underlying 70s beat that kept consistency. The feeling of the song is a relaxed happiness, and a yearning with a nice backbeat.
I wasn’t expecting a song to start with an accordian but Delam Barat Tang Shodeh surprised me again. I felt like I was in France to begin with or called back to my dad’s honky tonk records from the 1960s, but the song quickly moved into late 70s style with some nice beats that reminded me of Abba with a mix of Enya (imagine that!) My partner said this was her favourite in the collection.
I was surprised with To Moondio Man. This reminded me a little of the music that was played in the background of such TV shows as Monkey in the late 70s, but with the ubiquitious slow violin solos adding some romance. Actually I felt a lot of TV show theme music come through this song with the occasional rift or a subtle chord sounding a bit like Hawaii 5-O, Red Dwarf and other 80s shows themes. A touch of Grace Jones added to the style.
Nemidoonam had a harmonica! I haven’t heard a harmonica in music for awhile and hadn’t realised it could still be used. It was a perfect complement to the electronic piano style of the music. With hand clapping beats and Ali’s passionate singing, this song is definitely one to dance to. If the harmonica had been replaced with some trumpets I’m sure that you’d get the feeling of the song The Sound of Philadelphia by MFSB.
To Ke Ba Man Bashi started off with something close to Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield from 1973, with a violin complementing the sounds. This one brought the band in with backing vocals and a slow tempo that would be ideal for listening to in the car or on your mobile while walking. Very relaxed with some slow electronica beats. If you love 70s electronica with vocals I recommend you check this one out.
Ba’de To had some delightful notes and also lended itself to an Abba style to begin with, then slowly got faster as the song continued. There were a number of influences here and I must admit I lost track of all of them. Certainly I could compare it to the song Pop Corn, which is one of my favourites, but there was also a 2/4 beat that I couldn’t quite place. Exodus? Henry Mancini? I’m sure you’ll recognise it when you hear it. Ali put a lot of passion into this one too, so I’m naming Bade To as my favourite on this album.
I loved the sound of putting a cassette into a tape player. How cool to start a song with that and set the stage for an 80s style disco song! Too Cheshaye Man Negoh Kon, with it’s speedy violins and guitar flicks sounded like a Mexicano style, Cowboys and Indians film theme. It sounds like everyone had fun with this song and I’d say this one is probably the cheeriest one. Even some rifts remind you of scene changes in westerns. I was expecting someone to say ‘si senor’. It ended too fast, though. I wanted more!
The final song, Taa Abad was a bouncy 90s style techno/trance beats, interspersed with 70s style violin and 80s style instrumental, brought all the Arian Band’s styles together into a cornucopia of ear food. Ali’s voice and the female backing singers made this song an enjoyable one to end the album with and it is just a pity that it really is the final one.
I do not believe Ali’s voice can be hidden for too long and I look forward to either a reunion in the future or perhaps some solo work. As the final line to the album translates as ‘In my dream forever’, I’m guessing we’ll just have to dream him back!
Visit the site of the vocalist here: Ali Pahlavan