Samson & Delilah – And straight till morning
The review proper: The thin line between introspective and depressing (but in a good way).
(stream – ‘Rope has bound the shadows down’)
It’s hard to pin down what Samson & Delilah are, genre-wise. The elements of folk and pastoral are there, with the sparse moments, the sweeping picking and plucking of the guitar and the intertwined voices.
At the nucleus of the band you have husband and wife Sam Lench and Anna Zweck, joined by a trio of musicians, Michael, Tom and Tammy. The sound is a little schizophrenic: sometimes it’s slow and self-contained, then you get a strange sound that pokes and then suddenly, you get a whole lot of noise.
But getting ahead of myself. And straight until morning start with ambient noises and some finger picking. ‘I took your hand’ is the name of this song and Sam and Anna’s voices intertwine while all musicians slowly join in ’til the song reaches a climax (which includes some cheeky accordion doing the rounds).
Like previously stated, the album does veer from happy-go-lucky to “sod it, it’s depressed and drizzling”. You got the Irish happy song feeling of ‘Black dog’ or the upbeat mood in ‘Begone Dull Care’. Juxtaposed you’ve got the sadness of songs like ‘The ground’ and the utterly downbeat ‘Eyes of son’. It is a good song, but it’s as sombre as they come. Special kudos to Anna’s voice during the piano-driven ending of ‘Eyes of son’.
‘Brother Jon’ is another particular gem. Again, downbeat, with some glitchy sounds , layered voices and mostly driven by piano and perhaps part of Little Red Rabbit Record’s collection of definitely autumnal music (see Last Harbour, Fuzzy Lights). The ending of ‘Brother Jon’ is mostly uplifting, but the sadness in her voice still is there, lingering in the desolate hallways, reverberating until there’s nothing but silence.
And straight till morning is a hard listen. Not because the album is bad, by no means. But you do need to be in a certain type of mood (this does not imply it’s an acquired taste) to take it all in. I probably had to listen to it a few times to start finding the little hooks that are in this slow, thoughtful quiet album, but the experience is worth it.
If you don’t like folk, you’ll probably might want to skip to something entirely different, but if you want something sparse, quiet and even spiritual*, check this out. It’s on Spotify (links provided in the usual section) and you can’t go wrong with ‘Black Dog’.