Review: Get Ready For ‘SASAMI’

Though you might not have heard of Sasami Ashworth before, chances are you’ve heard her before. The former Cherry Glazerr synth-player has dabbled in a little bit of everything in the musical realm from film scoring to composing music for commercials and has done arrangements for artists like Wild Nothing and Curtis Harding. But judging by her self-titled debut album, people will soon be hearing a lot more of Ashworth.

Composed and written in the notes section of her iPad during a year of touring, the rookie singer songwriter’s debut album, “SASAMI,” is composed of ten power-packed tracks that showcase her multi-instrumental talents and knack for songwriting. Recorded in analog, the album sports a unique sound that feels both nostalgic and modern. Ashworth’s soft but powerful vocals can turn from a gentle croon to a hardened edge at the drop of a hat. On an Instagram post, she declared the album to have been inspired by “Everyone I f-cked and who f-cked me last year.” “SASAMI” is set to debut on March 8.

“I Was a Window,” opens with the dreamy strum of an electric guitar and the pop of a snare drum. Trailing behind the wail of a synth are Ashworth’s velvety lyrics: “There is a shadow over something that used to be light/ I was a window into something you didn’t like/ So you blamed it on me, and you thought it made you free/ But that’s not how it works, my love.” Most of the lyrics on Ashworth’s record touch on well, touchy, subjects like heartbreak, unreciprocated love and the feeling of being unheard in a relationship. But their strength lies in Ashworth’s unwavering honesty and ability to summarize complex situations in simple ways.

Ashworth has some well-established indie musicians backing her up on her debut album. “Adult Contemporary” features an all-L.A. woman crew with musicians like Meg Duffy (Hand Habits) on guitar, Sheridan Riley (Alvvays) on drums and singer-songwriter Soko on backup vocals. Beach Fossils’ Dustin Payseur and Devendra Banhart occasionally make appearances throughout “SASAMI” as “male back-up vocalists,” while her brother, JooJoo (Froth), helped fill in on guitar. Though “SASAMI” could be considered a personal introspection on the nature of human relationships, it seems the album was somewhat of a communal effort bolstered together by the support of her loving friends.

The standout track on “SASAMI,” though, is “Callous.” It’s an intimate representation of a toxic relationship gone on the fritz—a portrait of investing time and energy into a person without getting much in return. The song begins with gentle humming and ends with a repeating chorus of “Heaven knows I tried/ heavens knows I tried tonight.” The song feels like a secret, almost as if Ashworth were a friend sitting on the edge of your bed telling you about her no-good boyfriend at one in the morning.

The record closes with “Turned Out I Was Everyone,” a snappy, upbeat tune that touches on the universal experiences of human existence and serves as a tidy wrap-up to “SASAMI.” The album is a strong debut album fueled by fragile, but powerful lyrics and well-honed musical chops. “SASAMI” is playful and light-hearted, but almost disturbingly vulnerable at times. It’s a promising start for a musician on the verge of a successful solo career.

To pre-order a download of her album or reserve an LP, check out her website.