Long Island based singer-songwriter Akiva has a unique and versatile style of music that is showcased well on his third studio album, If I Didn't Work Nights/The Daylight. The two-disc release features 14 songs ranging from piano infused tracks to folk based ballads bringing to mind popular artists including Gavin DeGraw and Brett Dennen.
Having opened for acts like Rusted Root, Josh Kelley, Toby Lightman and more, Akiva is well on his way. Throughout If I Didn't Work Nights/The Daylight Akiva displays his comical side on track "Junk In the Trunk" as well as his sensitive lyrics on ballad "Distant Love."
First single off the album, "I Keep Calling You" has already been picked up by local radio stations. With soulful and sultry vocals and fitting piano accompaniment, Akiva is well on his way. "I keep calling you but you're not home/And I need to get back into your heart and your home/I'm no good by myself/I'm a mess on my own/Baby girl, you got your point across now pick up the phone," Akiva sings over horn arrangements.
"Heart In a Bind" isn't a huge departure from "I Keep Calling You." With similar piano accompaniment, the added bell and percussion arrangement is the only aspect that differentiates this song from the previous. Perhaps this is what Akiva was going for because next song, "Junk In the Trunk" is a complete surprise. The slow rap like chant of his lyrics and choir component awaken the listener and make him pay close attention to the tale within the song.
"Mississippi" is another striking number. Embodying a certain jazz feel, the song demonstrates Akiva's willingness to shake things up and differentiate himself from other artists. With delicate fingerpicking on acoustic guitar and banjo as well as light piano accompaniment, the listener is transported to the south. A soulful and laidback number, it is easy to picture Akiva scatting in a jazz club. A much slower track than previous songs on the album, this is a standout number.
Just when the listener thinks he figured Akiva's music out he is quickly proven wrong. "Figment on the Fringe" is a folk jazz number bringing slight reference to the likes of musical troubadour Brett Dennen. Another highlight on the album is "Distant Love," a stripped down and intimate song with little musical accompaniment
Second disc, The Daylight represents more energy than If I Didn't Work Nights. "Headlights Out" has upbeat percussion and electric guitar accompaniment while ballad "You Never Know" embodies fitting percussion rhythm and emotive lyrics of love.
While The Daylight only holds four songs, it might have been a better idea to merge these tracks with the rest of If I Didn't Work Nights. Not a huge change between both discs, instead of having two separate albums, perhaps a full album and additional EP would have made more sense. Either way, there is enough versatility within each album for the listener. Whether it's slow ballads or more upbeat jazz features, Akiva demonstrates his promise throughout both. Visit Akiva on MySpace for more.
Recommended: For fans of Gavin DeGraw, Brett Dennen, Jason Mraz.
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