Monday, 31 March 2014

Sam Brookes - Kairos

It's no wonder that Sam Brookes is being compared to the greats such as John Martyn with his new album 'Kairos' sitting somewhere between the legendary Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley.
    Standout, and opening song 'Numb' showcases Brookes at his best, with soothing vocals sitting comfortably upon intricate finger picked guitar playing. It is here, while Brookes vocals almost break under the fragility of his story telling, that layers of whistles and vocal harmonies just passively soak into your willing ears.
    'Crazy World and You' picks up the pace, with up-tempo strummed guitars, anthemic drumming and one of those pre-chorus build-ups that just begs to become the folky soundtrack for one of this summers festivals with Brookes almost spilling into crooning as he belts out the chorus lyrics, 'Out in the countryside where it feels like there's just a crazy world and you', but luckily saving himself with a glorious high note (of which there are many on the album).
       However, it isn't all positive. At times, 'Kairos' feels like it doesn't really fit anywhere. It's a little bit seventies folk, influenced by jazz, with tracks like 'On The Mend'  bordering, musically at least, on being cheesy and sounding dated. Whether this is a musical issue, or lyrical, or vocal, I'm not quite sure, but on a couple of tracks the album begins to feel almost like a guilty pleasure (as if you are secretly listening to one of dads old records that you said was awful previously). To some, including myself, this isn't a bad thing, but it could just be the difference between 'Kairos' being ignored, or getting the attention it deserves. This reviewer at least, hopes that music buyers can see this album for what it is, sonically heavenly, lyrically intelligent and an absolute pleasure to listen to.


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