Hot New Summer Sounds From Israel

Hava Cohen and Talia Peri’s latest song builds to exquisite effect, Danny Sanderson shows some deep empathy and Avior Malasa proves that beach songs aren’t completely washed up

Hava Cohen and Talia Peri of The Aprons.
Benny Esterlis

The Aprons – ‘Fear of Heights’

The Aprons - Fear of heights

Female duos are the latest thing in dreamy Israeli pop. The year began with REO (Or Edry and Zoe Polanski), continued with sisters Shay-li and Eden Djamchid, and now The Aprons – Hava Cohen and Talia Peri – are releasing a follow-up album to their 2012 debut, “Sound Stains.” Their new single, “Fear of Heights,” is one of the loveliest tunes I’ve heard in a while, thanks mainly to its clarity and extraordinary patience. The song builds gradually: It begins with just a piano, then the bass enters and suddenly a gorgeous harp is added. Once we get accustomed to this gentle sound, the drums come in and finally an electric guitar. There is much beauty in the way each instrument is introduced – it’s the audio equivalent of a painting slowly take shape on an empty canvas. Ultimately, when all the instruments have assumed their place in the song and just when the painting seems as if it’s complete, The Aprons add one last element: whistling. What could be more appropriate in a song that talks about overcoming fear?

Danny Sanderson – ‘Goral Shadud’ (‘Stolen Destiny’)

Danny Sanderson – Goral Shadud (Stolen Destiny)

One of the 5,432 things we love about Danny Sanderson is the way his heart always goes out to the losers and schlemiels of this world. He sees something of himself in them, we see something of ourselves in them, and the songs always have a unique blend of sadness and happiness. In his latest song, Sanderson turns his gaze from the usual small-time losers to people who have really been knocked down by life: The hopelessly isolated loner; the weirdo who spends entire days sitting at bus stops; the mentally challenged woman who wanders around the park with an empty baby carriage. Sanderson really studies them. He stares at the guy at the bus stop for several hours – which is a bit odd in itself. The melody is pleasant, the vocals a little weak, but what really makes the song – beside its humanism – is the arrangement, especially the soft glide of the string instruments in the song’s brief instrumental section. In “Stolen Destiny,” Sanderson sings about transparent people whose right to a reasonable life without suffering has been stolen from them. It’s not clear who, if anyone, is to blame for this theft, but the implication is that no one is stepping up to offer aid and support.

Avior Malasa – ‘Kayitz’ (‘Summer’)

Avior Malasa – Kayitz (Summer)

When will Israeli pop learn to crank out good summer songs? We’ve never had much success in this area, and the situation has been particularly grim this year. It seems that every other young singer is headed to the beach with his buddies, but as soon as the song starts you’re desperate to flee their company. Not that they want you there, of course – especially if you’re over 21. Bucking the trend with a summer song that’s a real earworm is “Kayitz” by Avior Malasa, a young singer who has recently lent his talents to a number of R&B tunes by other groups, such as KGC (“Mehamatok El Hamar” – “Sweet to Bitter”). “Kayitz” is far from a classic pop song. At first, it sounds just like every other piece of beach trash. But it turns out to have a charming groove that the other summer tracks lack – partly due to Malasa’s appealing voice. Malasa, who is still a soldier, was recently signed by Aroma Music, which is one of the strongest players in the market. With the right guidance, production and creativity – and, above all, some decent songs – he could definitely secure his place in the local pop scene.