Nawfel made his first recording in Los Angeles in 1999 as a 14-year-old electric guitar phenomenon supported by an all-star cast of musicians led by producer Barry Goldberg, Ivan Neville on keys and vocals, Reggie McBride on bass, Luis Conte on percussions and the great Jim Keltner at the drums. With their backing the kid attacks tunes by Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone, the Kinsey Brothers, Aretha Franklin, Booker T. Jones and Los Lobos, pinning them down and turning them around with his soulful guitar pyrotechnics and sly, funky rhythmic drive.
Eight years later it’s apparent that the kid has been building a following for himself behind the excitement generated by the impact of his initial release, writing his own music and assembling a sympathetic crew of supporting musicians to aid him in accomplishing his musical goals. His second album is a throbbing wall of electronic sound—The War of Sound!—that surrounds the listener and never falters, from the surfers-on-acid workout called “Land of the Surfer Dolls” through the boldly anthemic “E. Warriors,” the three wildly psychedelic sections of “The Trip,” the reverential “To Arthur Lee,” the parodic, tongue-in-cheek “Too Mancini,” the brilliantly buoyant “Song for Kelly G,” the romping, stomping, “Oh Boy!” and the quietly reflective bonus cut at the very end, tribute to George Gershwin —everything works like a charm. And the poppy vocal numbers “Sound in the City” and “Sexydelic” put the frosting and a cherry on top of this tasty musical cake.