Sam Fender’s most recent album, “Seventeen Going Under,” has just recently dropped on Oct. 8. Although the album is styled as indie rock, it gives us a unique blend of retro and modern styles of music, giving the rock scene a new refreshing sound.
Sam Fender is an English singer-songwriter born in 1994. He began his music career in 2013. Fender was named on BBC’s Sound of 2018 when he released his debut EP “Dead Boys.” He won the Critics’ Choice Award for his album “Hypersonic Missiles” in 2019 and has just released his newest album “Seventeen Going Under.“ The deluxe edition of this album sits at sixteen tracks with one hour and three minutes of total playtime.
When I was first made aware of Sam Fender, I found out he was an indie rock musician. I assumed he would sound like a generic indie rock band, but I was quite surprised to find that he actually has a somewhat 80’s retro sound. My immediate impression was that this man was like the modern, British version of Bruce Springsteen.
This became apparent to me in songs like “Seventeen Going Under,” “Long Way Off,” “The Leveller” and “Getting Started.” All these songs have simple, clean drumbeats and open, airy sounding guitars, with occasional organ sounds, chiming little bells, brass sections and even a saxophone in “Seventeen Going Under.” I feel like Fender took the good rock sound from the 80s and managed to modernize it and put an indie twist on it, which is quite cool sounding.
A nice contrast to the fast-paced 80’s tracks are some simple instrumental songs with either just a piano or a guitar such as “Poltergeists,” “Good Company” and “The Dying Light.” I think that the sign of a good artist is the ability to strip off the fancy mixing and host of instruments and still be able to sound great. It’s amazing what a lot of instruments at once can hide. There’s a boldness in musical simplicity.
Another aspect of this album I enjoyed is that it is very pleasant and easy to listen to. Some heavier rock albums can become very hard on the ears while the lighter stuff can start to get boring. This album has a relatively light yet full sound, with lots of unique little changes in instrumentation between songs which kept me from getting bored. Indie rock albums rarely keep my attention and I usually stop even paying attention to the music. This album however kept my mind occupied and kept giving me reasons to tune in and listen to the music and enjoy it.
Fender has a very unique vocal style which never seems to change throughout the album. Many artists change their voices depending on the song, but Fender appears to always maintain his strong vibrato and powerful tenor voice. This seems to work well for him. Some artists become very boring when they maintain the same vocal tone, but for some reason I can’t quite explain, it just works for Fender.
Overall, I would recommend this album. I think the easy listening aspect of this album makes it hard to dislike. While I don’t expect people to be taken aback by this album, I think people will be pleasantly surprised by what they hear.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Torch.