Yossi Sassi Band - Roots And Roads,
Yossi’s 2016 release was credited to a band as opposed to just solo, but apart from singer Sapir Fox, all musicians in the Yossi Sassi Band were all key core members of the previous 2014 release, ‘Desert Butterflies’. In many ways this is a direct continuation from the previous album, but in plenty of others it is quite different. Firstly, there are far more songs with lyrics on this album as compared to the previous one, and the roots, Middle Eastern and Israeli influences are much more to the fore. Opener “Wings” starts gently enough, with plenty of bouzouki, but soon becomes very Jewish in its approach, and this move away from Western culture is quite evident.
The album also features the instrument invented by Yossi, the Bouzoukitara, which is a double-neck instrument, combining acoustic guitar, electric guitar and an acoustic/electric bouzouki! The double-neck instrument has a shared surface, so when one guitar is played it resonates to the open strings of the other guitar, thus allows Yossi to produce some unique sound layers, for example when playing the Electric guitar while recording the Bouzouki going through a Pre-amp or overdrive, capturing the sympathetic harmonies & over-tones it generates.
Songs such as “Roads Less Travelled” features an introduction of acoustic instruments being with some emotional electric guitar, before the band becomes far more rock-based and Sapir takes the lead, but there are plenty of influences also changing the Western experience into something quite different. By the time of recording the band had played plenty of gigs, and there is a confidence here in all they do, as they continue to blend influences so the listener never knows quite what to expect, except that it will most definitely be worth listening to. When he wants to rock, then they do, but when they need to be more reflective, then they are also very much at home. Fluid, exciting, enjoyable, yet another album well worth discovering.