Growing Old With Rock and Roll

Growing Old With Rock and Roll

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Samantha Leon - s/t (2017)


Written by Lance Wright, posted by blog admin

Get ready for this because Samantha Leon will be around for a long time to come. Few new singer/songwriters in recent years have emerged with such an unguarded, powerhouse approach to their art while still retaining a pop accessibility that allows even casual listeners to enjoy the performances. It’s a neat balancing trick and, certainly, a rare skill. Her voice is suggestive of much and gives the lyrical content an added charm and sophistication that it already possesses. Her passion is revealed, if nothing else, by the fact she believed in herself and this project enough that it is funded through a Kickstarter campaign, but it goes beyond that – the fact that an artist without any official release yet has inspired those fans who have seen her to contribute their hard earned money in an effort to help her be noticed. She will certainly be noticed by many more after this effort.

She begins the EP with the track “Bright Yellow Shoes (No Turbulence Mix)” and the sparse stylishness of the song gives Leon ample room to move and exhibit her emotive talents. The soulfulness is apparent, but there’s apparent stylishness running through every line. Guitar plays an underrated role on this EP and its contributions get off to an equally fine start with this song. It takes a more compositional approach than you might expect and plays nicely against the drumming. Her lyrical aplomb comes through immediately as well. The same interplay between guitar and percussion comes through on the track “High (You Only Love Me When You’re Fu*ked Up)”, but it’s her ability as a vocalist that shines through and she conveys the rather blunt and bitter comedy of the song with an equal amount of heartbreak creeping through into her vocal. Two songs in on this EP and Leon shows herself to be a rare talent with awesome pop chops, accessibility shining through on every turn, and enough sensitivity to often lay her heart bear without ever making listeners feel like they are eavesdropping on something intensely personal and private.

“Run Away” is one of two songs on the release stretching over the five minute mark and this song specifically goes well over six minutes. It’s quite a ride nonetheless and the best song on this EP. The beauty of this performance benefits greatly from the instrumental presence, particularly the guitars, but the real center of this song is Leon’s lyric and her adroit balance between anger and pain. “Perfect” takes things in a different direction. It’s an acoustic song with a strong hip hop influence courtesy of guest vocalist Danny Matos. His voice strikes a great contrast with Leon’s and the juxtaposition helps makes this one of the EP’s more memorable numbers. “Hello, Goodbye” is another heartbroken tale that comes at a great spot on the release following the previous two numbers. The beauty of these songs comes, largely, from the fact that a world class singer/songwriter has no reservations about standing face to face with the personal revelations at the heart of each composition and fills their measure. Samantha Leon is a thrilling talent sure to be with us for many years to come.

Grade: A+

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