Silver is the debut album from acoustic band Sam and the Black Seas, who have been together for quite some time developing this debut album which has been a long time coming. The band have garnered some real interest from around the UK with their unique style and beautiful melodies, however it’s only until a band release an album that you can put them against the measuring stick.
The band tick to their strengths with this release as they stay within their boundaries and play with what they know, which is not a bad thing. The band are very good at creating these beautiful beds of sound, which contrast well with Sam’s eclectic voice.
This is clearly evident on the albums opener ‘Something Went Wrong’ where Sam’s vocals performance is on point and plays so well with the acoustic melody. The arrangement of the track is also well done, as they craft this wonderful picture together, allowing Sam to narrate over it. This is a common theme throughout the album as it can be heard on ‘Lately’ and the album’s title tracks ‘Silver’.
The fingerpicking all across the record is phenomenal as the band swift through different paces. This is showcased on tracks like ‘Within Me’ where the twang in Sam’s voice plays a vital part, along with the albums closer ‘Agata’ which is where the fingerpicking skills are at their peak of their powers. The band have clear influences of Bon Iver and Ben Howard bleeding throughout the whole album, but they bring them out in such a way that it cannot be counted as ripping them off as it’s subtle and beautiful.
The main strength of this record and the band is the musicality and the way they’ve layered each track, not one song feels empty or bare, so they’ve done a great job of bulking each song up. The only negative that can really be pulled of this album is that Sam sometimes loses some emotion in some songs. Most of the songs contain that raw emotion, however sometimes Sam seems to lose it and it sounds like he’s not really connected to what he’s singing, for example in ‘The Love We Owe’ sounds like it should be a sad song, but Sam’s voice doesn’t really reflect that.
Overall the album is a beautiful piece of work which has clearly had a lot of attention to detail, which can be heard throughout the record. This is an ideal debut album for the band as they’ve demonstrated what the band are about and what you can expect from them. Would be great to hear the band venture out their wheelhouse slightly in their next record, to see what else they can bring to the table
Words by Alex Wise @AJWise