SASAMI just delivered one of 2019’s best indie rock albums

SASAMI just delivered one of 2019’s best indie rock albums

By Jennifer Park

Sasami Ashworth makes a bold step with her self-titled debut.

Too often shoegaze leans heavily on its forefathers, recycling traditions rather than creating new ones. Meanwhile, SASAMI’s Sasami Ashworth breaks new ground on her self-titled debut as she flits between the slow-blooming pain of melancholy and the true devastation found in loss.

Despite the sadness swimming on this album, never once does it turn to self-pity. ‘Free’ and ‘Not the Time’ – the former stripped back, the latter bursting with ambitious indie rock riffs – both encompass the same moodiness tied together by Ashworth’s gentle, hushed vocals.

The understated production and refined songwriting help by not doing more than what’s needed, as each layer of synth buzz or growling guitar sits purposefully until replaced by another experimental variation. It becomes obvious that playing with sounds outside of shoegaze is what keeps the album dynamic, especially when it occasionally stays safe. The lack of movement in tracks like ‘At Hollywood’ is hard to ignore when compared to the rest, and ultimately lets down Ashworth’s talent.

But for her first step as a solo artist, SASAMI is a bold and strong stride, baring personal sufferings and intimate sorrows for all to see. It isn’t confessional; it’s asserting her truth.