By Frank Alkyer | Published April 2021
This is a shiver-and-sigh record. Need to chill out at the end of a long day? Midnight Shelter is a go-to. Want to share an amazing listen with someone you love? I’d suggest Midnight Shelter. It’s a beautiful, quiet recording packed with songs of longing, reflection and bliss. Here we find Sachal Vasandani easing his way into the mode of singer-songwriter. His voice is clear. His intentions are pure. He gives each song exactly what it needs to ring true in a listener’s ears. The music of some of the best songwriters in recent history flow effortlessly alongside original tunes penned by Vasandani, pianist Romain Collin and their writing cohorts. “Summer No School,” the opening number written by Vasandani and Erik Privert, pulls at the emotions with longing and loss, setting the tone for what is to come; all the performances on this 11-song set offer a sense of saudade. With just Vasandani’s voice and Collins’ tasteful accompaniment, the two spin a world that’s simply spellbinding. They glide through Lewis Capaldi’s “Before You Go,” Harry Styles’ “Adore You,” Nick Drake’s “River Man,” Abbey Lincoln’s “Throw It Away,” Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” and “Blackbird” by Lennon and McCartney. What’s impressive is how perfectly their originals fit so naturally within the set. The two co-wrote a gliding “Great Ocean Road.” Vasandani penned “Love Away,” a ballad with wonderful wordplay and a sophisticated melody that floats between the ears. “Dance Cadaverous,” a Wayne Shorter tune that Vasandani set lyrics to, is the most adventurous offering on the program, once again demonstrating the brilliance of Shorter’s musical mind. The album concludes with with a lovely Collins offering, “One Last Try,” a perfect sentiment to put a bow on this love letter to complicated relationships and life in general.