Album Review: Sam Brookes “Sam Brookes”

Album Review: Sam Brookes “Sam Brookes”


album art borrowed from sambrookes

Helium Records HeCD017 2011

We first came across Sam Brookes a couple of years ago. We’re very lucky.  In Marlborough, which isn’t that far from us, there’s a very cool music shop called Sound Knowledge.  It’s run by Roger and although it’s not big, he has an uncanny knack for picking up really good music. Next to the shop is a café come bar and periodically Roger puts on bands in the bar (he gets some very good people). Alan, our Managing Director, came back from one of these evenings, raving about Sam Brookes and clutching several copies of Sam’s self-titled CD.  He was right to be raving about it, I find the categorisation system really difficult but this one has to go under contemporary folk. If you are of a certain age and background, then the songs on Sam Brookes are going to sound immediately comfortable and familiar. They are far from copies or homages but in his guitar playing, which is intricate and full of melody, you can hear elements of the greats; John Martin, Bert Jansch and within some of the melodies and finger picking, the ghost of Nick Drake. Those really aren’t bad references.

The songs are all driven by Sam’s acoustic guitar and vocals and tread a very clever path. There is a depth to the songs and yet they are full of clever little hooks as well, so that after a couple of listens they lodge in your head.  Although acoustic guitar and vocals take the central role there’s some excellent bass guitar, drums, violin and keyboards and the whole album has been nicely produced to focus on the songs and the singing.  What’s really nice about this album is that you can throw it on and even if you’re half listening to it, little vocal hooks are going to come bouncing out of it.  Put it on and listen to it though and there’s an awful lot to enjoy. These are songs that stand above the mark in what is currently a very crowded area. The guitar playing really is good, clever, intricate and with a great sense of timing and expression. It’s a great listening experience and it stands repeated plays.  Nigel Finn

Have you heard this? – if so, do tell us what you think


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