Saturday 9 February 2013

Sam Page - Breach

Album review by

Without the helpful list of comparisons and influences that Californian singer-songwriter Sam Page gives as inspiration for this album, you'd have little trouble coming up with your own almost identical set of names. The most obvious of all is Bob Mould, especially his work with Sugar. Take 'Hold On' with it's anthemic chorus, or the lovely acoustic track 'Thinking About Thinking', and both wouldn't seem out of place on one of Mould's albums; the same goes for the ironically-titled final track 'Hello' which delves into similarly melodic guitar-pop ground. 'A Little Love' mixes together the never-tried-before combination of Prince and Sugar and just about carries it off, with the aid of a little Dinosaur Jr. towards the end.

Opener 'I Don't Want To Think About Her Anymore' is annoying. Not because it's a bad song, but because it does the whole US white-boy funk-rock thing that the Red Hot Chili Peppers do in such a vacuous way, but it's actually quite enjoyable. Better is to come though, particularly on the songs mentioned above which are made to an incredibly high standard in terms of both writing and execution. 90s alt-rock has its fingerprints all over 'Breach'. 'Now I Know' is pure semi-acoustic grunge of the sort that The Lemonheads did so well, the same goes for the memorable 'Tumbleweed In The Grand Scheme'. 'Pheromones' is a jaunty number which is slightly tongue-in-cheek and discards any notions that Sam Page is overly precious about his music.

The description given to this album by Sam Page himself is "guitar-driven pop/rock" and that's more appropriate than anything else we can come up with. It's all be done before and it will all be done again but each individual adds their own identity and that's something that's been achieved here. It's a shame that this album has arrived at a time when there's a lull in sales of guitar music and panic amongst the major record labels. 'Breach', had it been made twenty years ago would most likely have picked up a deal and be on sale in the empty spaces where we used to have record shops. Trends may come and go and methods of delivering art may change, but as Sam Page sings on 'Crush (Lovin' You)', "it never died", words that, despite the current struggles, will always apply to music.

Sam Page's website

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