Album Review: Sam Himself – Never Let Me Go

Sam Himself (the brainchild of Swiss born Sam Koechlin) has made a big impression over the past few months with a string of excellent indie-pop-rock tunes showcasing Sam’s intimate songwriting, vibrant guitar led soundscapes and his husky, breathy vocal delivering with a subtle country-roots-rock influence. Now releasing his second album ‘Never Let Me Go’, Sam continues his growth as an artist with 10 tracks which showcase exactly what makes him such an interesting talent.

Instantly setting the tone with the bright and breezy sounds of ‘Strangelove’, the album wastes no time. Contrasting the bright energy of the overlapping guitars, shimmering synths and driving drums, Koechlin’s sombre, reflective and gentle vocal style gives the track not only a sense of direction but also the emotional depth that makes Sam’s music so warming and rewarding to listen to. Instantly comparable to The National (with a hint of The Killers within the tracks soundscape), it’s easy to see why Sam has already picked up widespread acclaim for his work.

‘Baby’s Eyes’ picks up the pace another notch, introducing biting guitar licks, fuzzy undertones, Strokes-esque drums, driving bass and subtle swells of synth. Fast paced under Sam’s ever husky, gentle and considered vocal, the track possesses a subtly catchy chorus showcasing the true depth of Koechlin’s writing – offering a commercial edge whilst retaining a genuine honesty and melancholic depth.

Elsewhere on the album previous single and one of the highlights ‘Golden Days’ emphasises Sam’s ability to create infectious music which captures a Springsteen-esque swagger while delivery catchy melodies over beautiful indie soundscapes. The album’s title track ‘Never Let Me Go’ offers a more electronic side to Sam Himself’s sound with loft textures and atmospherics while Mr. Rocknroll capitalises on the wonderful intertwining synth and guitar lines to be found across the album, sonically as comparable Future Islands as it is to Joy Devision.

‘Left Of Me’ brings a slower, more direct approach to the melancholic side of Sam’s sound. Also leaning on the roots-eco/ Americana undertones in his sound, the track makes the most of the strummed acoustic and gliding slide guitars before growing into an epic choral climax.

Closing out the album with the multifaceted, ‘You’, a stunning merge of swaying lazy rhythms, etherial synths and subtle guitar licks, the track is a beautiful and heartfelt way to close out this really affecting selection of tracks.

I have to say, I’m kind of in love with this album. As a big fan of The National and of the current sound around across a certain section of their releases (Bon Iver, Future Islands, Daughter) this album is definitely right up my street. The contrast of vibrant instrumentation with Sam’s husky, emotive, effortlessly cool and always heartfelt and honest delivery creates moments of magic and a true sense that you’re listening to someone pour their heart and soul into their art. These are 10 tracks which are going to stick with me.

Listen below:

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