9 to 3
India-born, Switzerland-based singer-songwriter Ajay Mathur presents some rather cool ditties on 9 to 3. The big, jangly, straight-ahead “Sitting By Your Cradle” opens, a bare-bones of a track where we get Mathur’s voice up front in an otherwise lackluster beginning tune. Not to worry though, this album opens up brilliantly from here. “Nothing Really Matters” sees the first of Fausto Medici’s inventive percussion and the roil and spit of Christian Winiker’s sly guitar colorings. This is a very nasty little snaky track, exposing Mathur’s expressiveness and his strong ability to weave and deliver a great lyric. “My World” is built over echoey snare, a low, sexy vocal, and teasing child-like backing vocals in the chorus, investing the tune with an unexpected singability. “All Up to Vanity” again presents a clean guitar, superb walking bass from Richard Hugener and guitar flip-offs from Winiker. I absolutely adore “Password Love” with it’s distorted guitar, almost Elvis Costello style. The lyrics again are one of Mathur’s strong points here – wry, quick, and to-the-point. “Surfing Girl (Cyber Monday Mix)” has the band as much sounding like Dick Dale as they do The Go Go’s. Again Hugener is the one to watch here; he is all over this song that presents a Mathur talking vocal. Mathur is brash and unapologetic with his bouncing from style to style, his expert rendering of wry lyrics about love and circumstances, and the use of a wide range of colorful sounds and instruments from a band that plays them wonderfully.