The combination of easily assimilated melodies, intelligent lyrics, acoustic driven rhythms, creative composition and a rather intangible phenomenon brought by the cello nuances set Sam and the Black Seas apart from most for me. In general, it’s extremely difficult not to succumb to a feeling of strange but unbridled euphoria when listening to their bittersweet tunes. Sam and the Black Seas possess a sound which is at once hypnotic, intoxicating and liberating and their debut album “SILVER” perfectly encapsulates these qualities. Although the lush organic instrumentation will draw a few comparisons to some other groups in the folk and alternative pop genres early on in your listening experience, Sam and the Black Seas’ songwriting has a unique, enigmatic quality that keeps the music both supremely engaging and undeniably unique.
The band that has been enthusing London crowds since 2016 consists of Samuele Rampani (lead vocals/guitar), Andrea Bianchi di Castelbianco (guitar), Mattia Boschi (cello) and Stefano Tedesco (drums). Currently preparing a more extensive UK tour, Sam and the Black Seas has already released 4 singles from their 9 track album. Each single has also been supported by a video clip, which has been attracting a growing set of viewers on YouTube.
When I first started listening to the album, I thought the style of music suited driving down tree-lined highways quite well. It was laid-back and pleasant to listen to, reminding me of sunny days and gentle breezes, with just the slight threat of overcast skies in the faraway distance. However, the more I listened, the more I picked up on the lyrics, and it was the lyrics that blew me away and made me fall absolutely in love with the album.
The lyrics are skillfully and poetically wrought, and every verse of every song paints a vivid image in the listener’s mind. This is especially apparent in songs like the apprehensive “Something Went Wrong”, the upbeat reflection of “Lately”, and the sociological curiosity of “The Love We Owe” in which the lyrics explicitly spell out specific scenes for us. More often than not the lyrical themes of these songs, affront a man’s typical strategies interrupted by a world of shifting emotions and events, as his skeptical mind attempts to understand its motives.
Just as lots of good description in literature pulls the reader into the pages of a book, so Sam and the Black Seas pull their listeners in by weaving colorful images in their lyrics. They use their songs to tell us a story, but more importantly, want us to ponder the deeper meaning.
Again, this is evident in tracks like “Heaven Gave Us A Blessing” and “Within Me”. With this full album release, “SILVER”, Sam and the Black Seas have found their voice, their stories, their optimal cadence, and best choices for instrumentation to convey all of these.
The album, for me, is the aural equivalent of a massive floral arrangement placed in the middle of the room – it’s sheer colorful beauty and gorgeous fragrance is overwhelmingly inebriating, but if for one moment we consider that the flowers’ have been brutally cut from their roots we may begin to discover the fleeting sadness which exists in such beauty.