In 2002, Sami Akbari was inspired to become a musician after seeing John Mayer perform at a gig she helped organize at her college. After graduating three years later, Akbari moved to New York City and began doing her own gigs under the moniker sami.the.great and released her first EP, Somebody Elses Stranger, in 2007. Although the rise of Akbaris sami.the.great in New York coincided with that of Londons Emmy the Great, a wave of singer-songwriters with the Great as a suffix – akin to the flood of bear, wolf, deer, and The Black something-plural bands over the past decade – sadly has yet to happen. Currently available on iTunes, Nothing Left to See is the latest release and second EP from sami.the.great.
Nothing Left to See opens with Loves a Losing Game, on which deceptively upbeat music contrasts with a tale of unrequited love. Unfortunately, this textbook example of lyrical dissonance is not quite catchy or affecting enough to ascend beyond the level of garden-variety heartbreak pop. Akbaris abilities as a singer and a songwriter are showcased better on Nothing Left to See, as her vocals soar through an appealing soul-bearer.
Akbari continues to unveil more of her soul on the heartrending Lose You, as she departs from a lover in order to do whats good for me. Emotional anguish is clearly the driving force behind Nothing Left to See. Satisfy is a pensive ode to the swift passage of time and lost youth that goes on for a minute longer than necessary.
Joining the five originals by sami.the.great is a cover of Roxanne. Although an abrupt break from the mostly acoustic EP, this synth-driven take on the classic by The Police is more rousing than it probably should be. Nothing Left to See returns to melancholia on closer Wasted Emotion, as Akbari declares her tendency to fall for the wrong type of man and admits defeat. Although sami.the.great is a talented and often charming artist, the songs of heartbreak and loves new and lost on Nothing Left to See rarely stand out from those of her influences and peers in the singer-songwriter world.