Monday, May 26, 2008

Album Review: "Sam Sparro" - Sam Sparro

With "Black and Gold" still in the UK top 10 singles chart, and remaining this blogger’s favourite song of 2008 so far, much was expected of the Aussie soul man’s debut album.

And let me tell you, it doesn’t disappoint, although it’s far from perfect.
Sam very smartly blends some old retro soul influences with some very modern production values and the result is a very good (but far from perfect) debut album which has stood up to repeated plays on my CD player over the last three weeks or so. And that’s no mean feat, as I’ve become very hard to please!

"Too Many Questions" may have some predictable rhyming couplets but it’s a good funky starter before the main course - "Black and Gold" of course, which I have to say is still the best track on this album, and still sounds as good today as it did all those months ago when I first heard it. Quite outstanding!

He manages to keep the momentum going with "21st Century Life". If like me you are missing Jamiroquai being around, this will fill the gap. Danceable, funky and radio-friendly, so no surprise then that this is likely to be the next single.

There are little 80s electro/new romantic influences running through "Sick", which I didn’t initially like but it’s a real grower. Likewise the spaced-out "Waiting For Time", in which his vocals remind me of another great recent soul man - Seal.

"Recycle It!", well this is a very topical theme, but could only be described as ‘filler’. "Cottonmouth" is one of the most talked about songs on this album and is also a grower with that "I need some H20 down my throat" hookline towards the end.

"Hot Mess" is one of my favourites and on listening to this you could be forgiven for thinking it was Prince!! I think this could be a future single as it has a really good chorus.

"Pocket" is another favourite of mine - "keep your friends close and your enemies in your pocket". Very catchy electro-pop. I’m not so excited about "Cut Me Loose" which is just a functional funky workout which doesn’t really go anywhere.

"Sally" is rather good though, again relying on those 80s electro-style beats and might just have you breakdancing.

I think "Clingwrap" is a little silly - although still very catchy - so let’s go on to the last track - "Can’t Stop This" which brings the proceedings to a foot-tapping funky end. The hidden track "Still Hungry" has the theme that even if you have it all, something’s still missing. It’s also musically very different as it’s stripped back to voice and piano, rather than the pounding electro beats of the previous 13 tracks.

All in all, this album may not to be everyone’s taste, but I like it - although I’d have hoped for more of the tracks to be up to the standard of "Black and Gold". Still it’s a very good first effort and he can be very proud of this, which will probably turn out to be one of 2008’s best albums.

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