Review by Vince Leigh
There’s no one quite like Mahmood Khan in Australia, and this amazingly versatile artist has the track record to prove it.
His new EP Imaginary Friend is the latest addition to his oeuvre and a very welcome one it is too. It is an outstanding record, continuing Mahmood’s trademark world pop sound and will undoubtedly repeat the success of his previous releases.
Imaginary Friend follows the enormous success Mahmood is enjoying right around the world. His trail-blazing musical career also includes his enduring recordings with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and his debut solo album selling over six million records.
But Mahmood has also achieved phenomenal results at a global level. Imaginary Friend has already shot into the USA iTunes Jazz charts at #5 and is currently #1, a feat no other Australian or Pakistani artist has ever accomplished.
The new release follows in the wake of Mahmood’s recent chart impacts worldwide, which include:
- six songs on the iTunes USA top 100 during April 2021
- a #1 Billboard Classical Crossover hit with Mahmood Khan with Willoughby Symphony Orchestra that also reached #1 on iTunes in USA, Australia, France, Switzerland, Mexico, France, and Turkey
- four consecutive #1 singles in Australia and…
- Tere Baghair becoming the first foreign-language album to go #1 on the USA and Australian iTunes charts
As for the new EP, the opener is Call Her Up, a track that gives the listener a good taste of what lies ahead; that full, slick sound tempered with, on some occasions, raw, unguarded performances.
The title track continues the same resplendent aesthetic, yet one imbued with a faint quixotic tone.
The following track, I Have To Love You, despite its rather inflexible title, is the ballad of the EP, one that actually reveals the flexibility of Mahmood’s vocal skills.
Mahmood’s new collection also includes the funk-fuelled Runnin, with its splashes of mid ’70s cop show drama and reiterative, circling chorus.
The result here is a uniformed sophistication, an atmosphere that manages to be expansive while retaining an organic, relatable vulnerability. The EP has many surprises and reveals, in varying degrees of accessibility, with Mahmood Khan’s ability to draw on numerous genres and writing styles to sustain his artistic idiosyncrasies on full display.