Album Review: Sam Isaac – Bears

By on Tuesday, 21st April 2009 at 12:00 pm

Sam Isaac (album cover)Sam Isaac is an acoustic singer-songwriter originally from Malvern. Following his decision to pack-up and move to London in 2006 however, Sam was soon picked up by Back2Forward Records and went on to release his debut E.P, ‘Compass Scattered Love’. To coincide with the release, Sam went on a tour across the UK – yet this was no ordinary tour, oh no! Unlike most upcoming bands, Sam didn’t choose to visit your regular bog-standard club, but instead decided to set-up stage in a selection of lucky fans’ living rooms across the country. While this tour-ethic was undeniably cool, Sam has certainly come a long way since then, playing slots at Glastonbury and BBC’s Electric Proms along the way. He already has NME and a selection of top Radio 1 DJs on his side. He’s been described as “beautiful!”, “fantastic!” and “very special!”, therefore I was unsurprisingly looking forward to delving into ‘Bears’, Isaac’s debut album, released in June.

Well, merrily delve I did and boy is this record one big bundle of irresistibly cute indie-pop fun (think The Wombats unplugged, oh and minus the witty lyrics)!

The album kicks off with title-track ‘Bears’, a sweet little acoustic number backed up by a a gently twinkling synth which echoes the similarly starry lyrics “and all along the front of the stage/there’ll be fairy lights/as bright as any city night”.

‘Bears’ then proceeds to pick up pace a little with the cheery chorus of ‘Come Back Home Tonight’, and the general indie gem that is ‘Fire, Fire’. Meanwhile, track four, ‘Sticker, Star and Tape’ (Isaac’s top listened to song on Last.Fm) makes further use of sunny electronic riffs which thoroughly compliment Sam’s super sweet lyrics – “some boys get broke and try and make/a mend with pens and masking tape!”.

Slower tracks on the album, such as ‘Annie, Why are You So Angry?’ and ‘Sideways’ are perhaps the least memorable of the record. The gentler tunes such as these can sometimes risk sounding uninnovative and a little boring at times, yet they are still pleasant on the ear when seeking something that little more laid-back.

In the meantime, tracks such as ‘Berlin’ and ‘Calendar’, move away from the general indie vibe of the album and introduce a more folk-esque sound, which is incredibly beautiful.

Meanwhile, the sprightlier tunes towards the end of the album – such as ‘I Traded My Friends for You’ and the jig-worthy ‘Carbon Dating’, (which prompts a super feel-good ‘da da da’ sing along towards the end) – are a real fun, smile-inducing musical experience.

Finally, the album comes to a close with the near-5 minute long epic ‘Apple Tree’, a glittery ballad bounding with a tinkling pianos, wispy violins, and of course, Sam’s now-trademark vocals about love and heartbreak “I tried to be the thing you want/I tried to change so perfectly”. To conclude, this track is a lovely ending to a generally lovely album which, although a little monotonous at times, is mostly very pleasurable to listen to.

‘Bears’ is released June 1st. You can pre-order the CD now over at Sam’s website. While you’re here, why not also check his MySpace page, too.

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One Response

7:55 pm
25th April 2009

Haven’t heard the album yet though Sam has some of the songs as a free download on his MySpace page. Surprised that you aren’t so keen on ‘Sidways’ – think that is an excellent song! In my opinion Sam Isaac is one of the best young artists around. I have seen him live countless times and have never found his music even ‘a little monotonous’. I find it personal, moving, and uplifting. Can’t wait till June 1st but guess I’ll have to!

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