The title is a sufi word for transcendence, but world-rock outfit Paranoise’s latest is occasionally bound to Earth by its politics and vocal performances. Which is not to say their blend of Middle Eastern sounds and guitars-and-drums-driven music isn’t mostly uplifting and powerful. Opener "A Call to the Enlightened Ones/Habiba Jaahratini" and "Occurrence Currents/Wedding Song" make up a sound suite that sails on the updraft of Bostonian Rohan Gregory’s violin and melodious chanting. The arrangement of "Ishq" leaps the East/West culture gap so zestfully — with traditional percussion providing a bed for leader Jim Matus’s sizzling Arabic-jazz guitar — that it charms. But "I Own" destroys its beauty by following a spoken lecture on the metaphysical errors of capitalism with, well, a sung lecture on the metaphysical errors of capitalism.
Elsewhere the polemics are borne less obviously, leaving the fabric of the music unruffled save for Noam Chomsky’s running dialogue in "Have More/Kayamba Dance/Matahistorical Disquisition," which undermines the fascinating textures. Lead singer Thorne Palmer’s approach is often at odds with Paranoise’s freewheeling spirit, especially when his stentorian Broadway style is pitted against the free-flowing Arabic singing of Roseanna Vitro and Galen Brandt. Nonetheless, Paranoise’s aim to call attention to the plight of downtrodden people is noble, regardless of the occasional thorny musical consequences. And the band have dedicated themselves to a rock hybrid in which others merely dabble.
(Paranoise play Johnny D’s this Wednesday, January 30. Call 617-776-2004.)