Friday, January 29th, 2021

Sanah & Vito Bambino – Ale Jazz!

Sounds like an IPA (Interesting Polish Artist)…


Katherine St Asaph: Among its European peers, Poland has a surprisingly(?) good ratio of chart filler to amazing, yet-to-cross-over pop bangers I keep trying to get properly hyped: destroying-everything-it-touches synthpop by Pati Yang, ambitious fantasy-epic artpop by Justyna Steckowska, just a lot. Sanah, something of a breakout Polish star, isn’t quite there yet, but that’s not for lack of trying genres: slinky spy-funk with high-drama piano and smoke-machine aura, ABBA-esque pop with a retro sequencer solo, a heaving, Sarah Brightman-esque sigh of a piano-violin ballad. She reminds me a lot of Billie Eilish: not in her sound, per se, but her versatility this early in her career, her gravitation to sounds besides your standard landfill altpop, and her willingness to just go right for the melodrama. (At least in translation, she’s also a promising lyricist, for the same reasons.) Sadly, Sanah’s debut was in 2020 and this is 2021, so the single we’re covering isn’t any of those, but a bouncy, lite trifle, jazzy in a Regina Spektor way, with the requisite feature dude assigned to all breakout pop stars. This genre road will probably not lead to those amazing bangers, but I feel pretty confident Sanah’s got them in her, and in the meantime, at least I haven’t noticed 500 of these on Discover Weekly.

Michael Hong: Like a kitschy version of Sylvan Esso if the guy wanted to sing instead of tinkering around in the production booth.

Dorian Sinclair: “Ale Jazz!” is a pleasant enough listen, but it’s pretty insubstantial. The exclamation mark in the title promises something a lot higher-energy than what we get, which is a midtempo groove that doesn’t build to anything in particular. The most interesting element is the hilariously wobbly instrumental riff that prefaces the verses, but with it not being picked up anywhere else in the production, the impression it leaves fades very quickly.

Samson Savill de Jong: This is a fun song. I like Sanah’s singing more than Vito Bambino’s — she’s got a bit more character to her voice — but this is an overall upbeat, poppy, not very jazzy song you wouldn’t mind hearing in the background.

Thomas Inskeep: Bright, sunny pop from Sanah, whose vocal tone is beguiling. Vito Bambino sounds a bit like a less smarmy Adam Levine, and pairs nicely with her. 

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: I can’t help but think this is for the Polish equivalent of Disney adults, but the vocal performances are very charming and that faux-Buggles instrumental break will be stuck in my head until the end of time. I really don’t know what kind of nostalgia they’re going for, though!

Anna Katrina Lockwood: Pleasingly dinky in instrumentation, “Ale Jazz!” is a lightly melancholic, jackdaw-referencing, extremely twee warble of a song. It manages a neat trick of sounding quite diminutive, yet it’s truly almost absurd how many hooks are packed in. Tonally it’s not a mile from all those eight-plus-member bands that weirdly proliferated in the oughts — except the majority of the instrumentation comprises truly hilarious synthesizer sounds, with the likely exception of the suspiciously slap-adjacent bass. Despite these bewildering choices, “Ale Jazz!” has captured a youthful peering-out-the-window-and-thinking-about-people ennui that speaks to the current moment; coziness tempered with disquiet. It’s an irresistibly catchy song, and so I’m sorry to say that even the small quantity of listens I made before writing this was testing the limits of my enjoyment. 

Alfred Soto: Basement Jaxx would sample it.

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One Response to “Sanah & Vito Bambino – Ale Jazz!”

  1. The Pati Yang song is !!!