Song of the Day: Nabihah Iqbal – Saw U Twice

Nabihah Iqbal

By Sam Goldner

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Saw U Twice” by Nabihah Iqbal from the album Weighing of the Heart, which is available via Ninja Tune.

Nabihah Iqbal – Saw U Twice (MP3)

The age-old cliché usually goes like this: rock band/folk artist establishes their cred making music with guitars, before suddenly veering into an electronic phase later in their career. Nabihah Iqbal, however, took things in the opposite direction — after years of recording knotty, colorful electronica under the Throwing Shade moniker, the British-Asian artist reinvented herself as a neon-hued new wave priestess, going by her own name and incorporating gothic, chorus-heavy guitars into a sound that’s one part Cocteau Twins, one part Tears for Fears. Her latest release for Ninja Tune, titled Weighing of the Heart, shows her effortless transition from producer to singer/songwriter, tapping into the same vibrant dream world of her earlier work, but from a whole new perspective.

“Saw U Twice” cuts straight to the core of Iqbal’s new sound, opening with piercingly artificial drum machines and layered, murky guitar lines that envelop each other like strobe lights in a nightclub. “Saw you on the train/Will I see you again?” asks Iqbal via a ghostly chant, channeling a mysterious feeling of desire as romantic as it is withdrawn. The track builds and builds in a circular loop, gradually introducing classic ’80s chimes into the mix as Iqbal lets loose on her guitar, creating a miniature microcosm of pop halfway between a love song and a private fantasy.

Nabihah Iqbal doesn’t have any Seattle dates planned yet, but follow her on Facebook and Twitter for updates. And check out another album track from Weighing of the Heart below:

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