With a strum of his guitar and an arsenal of quotable lines, Lookman Adekunle Salami brings the spirit of 1970s singer/songwriter folk into his post-modern acoustic blues. Performing as L.A. Salami, he invites influences like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Elliott Smith, and Joni Mitchell to his debut, Dancing with Bad Grammar. A collection of 14 ditties (and one acoustic-ambient hidden track), Dancing is a mostly low-key affair, with Salami's everyman storytelling strewn over plaintive guitar that simmers like smoke wafting through a bohemian cafe. Beside his iconic influences, listeners will also catch hints of Conor Oberst's wounded delicacy, KT Tunstall's sweetness and soul, Alex Turner's mischievous wit, and Courtney Barnett's droll observations. While the music is indeed soothing and enjoyable, Salami's dense prose is the main draw, both poignant and humorous at turns. Whether he's describing the mundane -- albeit brutally realistic -- details of his day ("Day to Day [For 6 Days a Week]") or waxing poetic on the politics and the pitfalls of modern culture ("The City Nowadays"), Salami has a keen eye and a knack for clever turns of phrase. Highlights include both aforementioned tracks, as well as a pair of relatively energetic numbers -- "& Bird" and "I Can't Slow Her Down" -- that rock as peacefully as the material on Coldplay's Parachutes. Unpacking all of his thoughts takes some time -- the album clocks in at over 80 minutes long -- but for fans of introspective ruminations, this troubadour's initial offering is worth the effort.
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AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung