Sunday, 13 September 2015

Album: Sam Brown - Yellow Cake

Sam Brown Yellow Cake Album

Sam Brown, Yellow Cake, Full Album

Info: Brooklyn based Sam Brown is a multi-instrumentalist song-writer who dabbles in a wide variety of genres spanning from rock to soul to experimental, electronica and beyond. Brown's debut album, Yellow Cake, which was released on Friday, sees him; "affirm his signature sound, bringing forth an astonishingly diverse record, encompassing everything from tripped out acid rock jams to piano-driven old timey jaunts to lush electronic soundscapes. The album's underlying concept revolving around war and human nature draws you in instantly and immerses you in the world it so elegantly creates."

Yellow Cake's opening song 'While You're Searching For Something (That's Not Even There)' runs like an elongated psychedelic intro, lightly sinister, Brown gently strokes your hair while pointing forward at what he has waiting for you. 
After enjoying the sleepy withdrawn sounds of 'Drop The Bomb' the album's first major moment of impact lands with 'Sparks Over Hanoi', the atmosphere is controlled between soft piano playing and heavier tones and it feels like you are progressively being brought to an uncertain destination later on in the album. 

Sam Brown Yellow Cake
Photo: Jason Wolonick

At the album's half-way point you will find 'Trouble' and it's a track I enjoyed a lot, it's hard not to, it's a strange working mix of electronic and bossa nova beats, a concoction I'm sure I've not heard before but it works so well to the point it's obvious, the song's bass and keyboard loops are the cherry on top. Another highlight on Yellow Cake is undoubtedly 'SYRIA', a monster of a track that bull-dozes through everything in its path. It's operatic in its reach at times, the Mid-Eastern strings, drum beats, instrumentation and darkly thick electronic sounds reminiscent of later Primal Scream's more industrial workings.

'War Is The Son of a Gun' keeps the thematic line going and couldn't be further from the preceding track just mentioned. It sounds like Bod Dylan jamming with The Beatles on an unwritten White Album track, performing duets with Lennon while he plays bar-room piano. The mood shifting can be dizzying on the album as you are constantly readjusting your position and where you're at in your head, but this is almost forgotten by the time you've reached albums end with the six and a half minute 'Resurrection-Love', the strongest evidence of the Frank Zappa comparisons which have been made by others. It provides a very strong finale to Yellow Cake and is clearly a style that comes naturally to Sam Brown, you get lost in the layers of this one and it's delightful, the incessant keys and lovely electric guitar and jazz improv lulling you perfectly toward closing track 'Get Up!'. 

'Get Up!' is a belter of a song, it has single written all over it, instantaneously catchy and funk-laden, with a plethora of instruments all painting a chaotic and fun vibe, and the guitar solo at the end is fucking delicious too, excusez-moi! Yellow Cake by Sam Brown could be compared to a hundred different artists and none and the same time, and there is one of the best parts about the album, everything feels familiar and new at the same time, a distinctly original album with the array of sounds and ideas demonstrating a particular talent at work and someone you mark down as 'what could he do next?'.

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