Yusuf Azak's Go Native, his second album released on Song by Toad Records, is a minimal affair. It has that same feeling that Bon Iver's first album had about it - that "locked in a cabin, doing my own thing" kind of vibe. Indeed, according to Song By Toad, Azak has a sense of Salinger about him: "He tends to keep himself to himself, only to emerge occasionally with a finished album."

Go Native doesn't sound like anything around right now, and this is probably more to do with Azak's voice than the songs themselves. Azak uses his vocal cords as an instrument to some astonishing effect. It is certainly marmitey; every time Azak sings he sounds like he has smoked a pack of fags before running up a very steep hill, gasping for every breath. 'Wheezy' is the optimal word here. A large proportion of Go Native features layers of vocal harmonies and when combined with the lo-fi hiss of the recording quality it creates a whole wheezy world, case in point 'Lay Me Down'. It takes a couple of songs to tune your ear to it, but once you do, the songs themselves will move to the forefront.

To pigeonhole, Azak operates in the folk realms. Nick Drake appears to be a reference point as well as possibly Leonard Cohen. His classical guitar playing is impeccable, yet never flashy and for the most part the album is rather consistent. Some of the song structures are rather elaborate and interesting for a basic man and guitar combination. Standout track 'Swim' is a lovely piano led ballad, reminiscent of Perfume Genius that floats on a lo-fi wave. 'Sanctuary', another piano moment is also one of the better songs. 'American Eyes' is memorable due to its refrain, as is 'Make me Starlet', though for the wrong reasons. 'Losing my Aim' also suffers from this - being one of the catchier songs, but also being one of the weaker and less enjoyable ones.

Essentially, Azak has made an album for himself and there is certainly the feeling that he doesn't really care if anyone else likes it or not. That, I think deserves kudos. There are songs here that I believe to be a cut above the rest, and as a whole it is worth a listen, even if it is just to hear his unique and intriguing voice. There is a stuffy atmosphere to the whole piece and I feel like it needs a window opening throughout it. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is open to interpretation.