Nehedar: Pick Your Battles

By Matthue Roth

Live, Nehedar is a revolving cast of musicians: djembe, ***. On this, nehedar’s first album, the music is even more rambling: from the swingy Stray Cats strut that introduces the opening “Sign” to the groovebox rhythm of “Never in a Million Years,” there’s a whole world of collaborative difference…and that, my friends, is only the first two tracks.  

“I’m gonna…I’m gonna…I’m gonna go disco,” she screams out on “Hide Now,” and we aren’t sure whether to hide or dance our asses off, or both—she really might. 

The greatest innovations on this album, however, all occur within the realm of Nehedar’s voice. At the drop of a dime, she’ll switch from sweet and pretty-sounding pop-diva mode to a lower, rumbly belting-it-all-out voice, sometimes within the same verse. Even when the mix swallows up the full furor of nehedar’s voice, you can still hear what she’s doing. Unfortunately, several of the songs sound like the mix got the better of them—it’s almost like listening with tissues in your ears—but, for what it’s worth, it gives you a Live Concert Experience right on your iPod… 

The more stripped-down songs work the best—“Never Let U Go,” for the most part, is just voice and a hand drum—and nehedar works well with rhythms, both fighting it and staying in time with it. Underneath a lot of the orchestrations, both electronic and acoustic, most of these songs are soul songs at heart….and nehedar’s got plenty of that.


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