Album Review: Omar Afuni – Soundproof Greg White 22 Sep 2013 Music Omar Afuni leapt into the indie pop music scene three years ago with his dÃ©but full-length release Resurrected. Without any management or official PR backing him up, this album was downloaded from his website over 30,000 times. He’s a fiercely independent artist who writes and produces all of his material. Using social media, particularly a fantastic YouTube channel on which he often posts covers of current top 40 songs, he’s built himself a loyal online following. Afuni’s second release, Soundproof, takes his sound a strong step forward, featuring pop songs that touch on a variety of genres, ranging from gorgeous piano-based ballads to properly thumping club tracks. The album opens with ‘Man in the Arena (Intro)’ a mesmerising and brief self-affirmation that sets the tone nicely. The record really gets going with the huge title track ‘Soundproof’, a defiant dance jam with some great beat drops. First single ‘Music Therapy’ nicely continues the dance-floor vibe with swirling synth break-downs and soaring vocals. Soundproof nicely balances its upbeat moments, like the carefree romance of ‘Borders’, with darker and introspective moods like ‘Bad’ and ‘Leave Me Alone’. On ‘Heartbreaks and Sun Rays’ Afuni achieves a perfect pop balance of uplifting melancholy, with a chorus that soars, and a surprising quick-fire middle eight. A huge standout is ‘Portrait of a Lady’, an epic and slow-burning track that paints a story left open to the listeners’ interpretation. The song features strings, a hypnotic recurring piano melody, and Afuni’s strongest vocal performance of the record. Omar Afuni is one of the best pop artists that more people need to discover. Check-out his YouTube channel, where he does things like a cover mash-up of Madonna’s ‘Substitute for Love’ with ‘Like a Prayer’. Standout Tracks: ‘Music Therapy’ / ‘Portrait of a Lady’ / ‘Heartbreak and Sun Rays’ Soundproof is currently being offered for free or pay-what-you-want on his official website. We certainly recommend the deluxe edition; it includes several other ace tracks, a great digital booklet, and doesn’t cost anything extra.