Album Review: Sam Fender – Hypersonic Missiles

SamFenderSam Fender – Hypersonic Missiles

Indie Rock | Americana

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Top Tracks: Liv Harris – Hideaway

We all need somewhere safe to retreat to when the world is getting us down. A sanctuary to call our own when life gets hard. Whether it’s somewhere physical, curled up under the covers with a hot chocolate and your favourite film, or a haven within your own mind to escape to, like a cherished memory to bring you solace and comfort. The debut single from promising singer/songwriter Liv Harris doesn’t just describe such an escape, but also provides one for the listener. ‘Hideaway’ starts with little more than Liv’s airy vocals and a bright and elegant piano, but soon builds into something far more anthemic and uplifting with its nuanced and atmospheric electronica. What begins as merely light shining through the cracks soon grows into a dazzling beacon to banish the darkness that clouds your mind. It’s the kind of song where you don’t know whether you want to broadcast it to the whole world or keep it all for yourself as your own little secret escape.

Top Tracks: Simon Alexander – Move Steady

We all have a touch of wanderlust in our youth. A thirst for adventure, a yearning for a change of scenery, a longing to see more of the world than just the same familiar patch we see every day. It’s easy to see the appeal, but the reality of seeking new endeavours often isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Swedish singer/songwriter Simon Alexander leads you down just such an uncertain path on his new single ‘Move Steady’, taken from his forthcoming EP In The Rust. Channeling a bit of Mumford & Sons’ Wilder Mind, this fine piece of folk pop details the toll that comes with leaving your life behind. Not only are you diving headfirst into a strange new world, you also leave behind a big part of what made you who you are. Even with someone by your side to share the experience it can be a challenging road to follow. There are plenty of songs out there that revel in the allure in the open road; it’s refreshing to hear an artist be so open and honest about the doubts and struggles that come with it.

Top Tracks: Ryan McMullan – Rebellion

There are songs out there to express every conceivable emotion. Songs about a new love that makes you feel like you could fly, songs venting ire at a broken system that make you want to take to the streets, songs about feeling broken and alone for when you just want to curl up in bed and escape reality. Whatever emotion that makes you want to cry out to the world, there’s a song to cry out with you. But what about the times when a cathartic release is beyond reach? The times when you have to hold back the fire inside and put on a brave face, when you have to force a smile to hide the tempest in your mind threatening to tear you apart. That’s where singer/songwriter Ryan McMullan comes in with his new single ‘Rebellion’, taken from his forthcoming debut album due next year. This poignant dose of pop not only deals with all the pent-up frustration, but does so with a mastery of infectious hooks and earworm melodies to rival the likes of Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes. It’s a brilliant release from a real breakout star in the making.

Spotlight!: Fidelity Freak

fidelity freakMore new music gets released in this day and age than at any other point in history. While in decades gone by the key to getting noticed was to latch on to a trend and ride the wave of popularity, these days you’re often far more likely to simply get lost in the crowd. Why carry on down the same road as everyone else when you can take the path less travelled and lead your listener to something different. While Fidelity Freak don’t venture deep into the wilderness, you can find them operating at an unfamiliar crossroads between otherwise familiar styles. At the nexus of dancefloor ready funk, the warm glow of classic soul, and light and airy indie melodies, you’ll find their eponymous debut EP. The resulting blend of positive vibes is a refreshing twist on the modern indie sound.

‘Illusion’ starts proceedings in fine form with an irrepressibly infectious groove that channels the likes of Chic, before flowing into a dreamy chorus. ‘Losing My Mind’ takes the band’s dreamy side a step further, dealing in the kind of sun-drenched soulful glow that makes you want to just lie back and forget about the world. That is, before ‘Nightmare’ drops you back in at the deep end. This funky firebrand of a number takes a scathing look at the state of modern politics and wraps the band’s ire in an engaging and accessible package. Closing track, and EP highlight, ‘I’m Gone’ shines in spite of it stripping away a lot of the soulful sheen found elsewhere on the record. With its simple yet striking chorus and the beautiful slow-building breakdown, it shows that even without their fresh fusion of styles they still have what it takes to stand out from the crowd.

Fans of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paolo Nutini, Mac DeMarco and Local Natives should check out Fidelity Freak’s eponymous debut EP.

Top Tracks: Joe Hicks – Swim

Journey to the coast in your mind, down by the waves“. These days the kind of escapism offered by ‘Swim’ is needed more and more. When the world is at its most bleak and absurd, you can spend a few minutes walking in Joe Hicks’ shoes: along a quiet coastline bathed in the golden light of morning, hand in hand with the one you love. They say the best writers explore all the senses. Not just the sights and sounds, but the sensations against your skin and the emotions bubbling away beneath it. Joe does an exemplary job of capturing the dizzying rush of thoughts and feelings in such a scene. Are those goosebumps from the clawing cold water or from the touch of her skin against yours. Is that rising warm glow as you walk upon the shore down to the first rays of the summer sun or the sight of her smile. Are you feeling weightless because of the rise and fall of the waves, or because love has given you wings. The perfect marriage of gold standard lyricism and transcendent score, Joe Hicks’ latest single is a rare and splendid gift.

Top Tracks: B.Knox – Corners

Though ‘Corners’ is only the second single from Canadian singer/songwriter B.Knox, it speaks with the kind of wisdom and maturity you’d expect from a world weary artist who has spend half a lifetime on the road. He offers his own take on the sensation of life passing by like sand slipping through your fingers. A gritty rumination on the unrelenting passage of time; on all the missed opportunities it leaves buried in the bottom of the hourglass. Reflecting on all the turns not taken when marching onward down a road that seemingly leads nowhere. Though it deals with heavy subject matter, ‘Corners’ merely dabbles in darkness and never fully succumbs to it. There’s an underlying hope shining through the cracks, at its most luminous in the track’s instrumental centrepiece with its old world piano and defiant guitar squalls. A hope that the listener will heed the warning, seize the day, and perhaps chart a course down a road without regrets.