Bhi Bhiman “Bhiman” Review

It’s no secret that I’ve been sending applications to everyone with a public e-mail, looking for a job. One of the music sites I applied to asked for an album review, so that they weren’t judging me from reviews of festivals that were months ago. I’ve suffered from more than a little oxidation since I stopped doing music writing, but listening to an album I like until I almost couldn’t stand it anymore was good fun. Since I have failed to get any studying done today, let me share with you what I did accomplish.

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Bhiman – Bhi Bhiman Review

With Americana taking the main stage in a lot of popular music once again, it is becoming more and more difficult for guitar-slung musicians to make themselves known. Still, St. Louis native Bhi Bhiman will tell you in the first track of his album Bhiman, “I’m well on my way.”

The album opens with “Guttersnipe”, a classic train song of rambling and yearning. It keeps the steady train-track rhythm and mentions the hot, dry towns of many of its predecessors, but as much as Bhiman knowingly recalls the dust and rust of the tradition he’s working from, his sound is nothing if not fresh and full of life. Even the song’s video moves as far away as possible from the wasteland images of a transient lifestyle long abandoned and idealized in the American psyche, but it does so without losing the train itself or Bhiman’s touch.

Song tropes are subverted again in “Crime of Passion”, the album’s classic murder ballad. The twist is that the song’s Delia figure appears to have been upfront with her would-be lover, the pathetic narrator with a twisted sense of humor, about where he stood.  If revenge songs aren’t your favorite, the song does have one of the best jabs at O.J. Simpson I’ve heard in years.

Bhiman keeps the momentum going throughout the album with his lilting tenor and playful arrangements. Of his two recipe-songs, “Kimchee Line” is a little on the slower side, but it twangs its pleasantly along, not allowing the darker lyrics to distract from Bhiman’s skillful strumming. It leads right into “Cooking the Books”, the second recipe, which is weighed down with heavy sounds and perhaps a bit too much emphasis on how clever the wordplay is. This thankfully doesn’t last long, as “Atlatl” brings a renewed energy that doesn’t let up on the urge to toe-tap until the album ends.

The album is available for download on iTunes or you can download it for free from Noisetrade with a cover of “Crazy” as a bonus. Either way you can’t miss with Bhiman’s talent or Sam Kassirer’s smooth album production. Bhiman only has a handful of tour dates lined up, but they can be found on his website.

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Like Ron Swanson, I never endorse anything I haven’t tried and thoroughly enjoyed myself, so you can trust me on this one. Also, you should enter my giveaway because you are well-read and attractive.

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