29 May 2022
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Sam Bartells - Single Review: Bring You Down

17 Oct 2021 // A review by Kev Rowland

Sam Bartells is back with his new single Bring You Down, which finds him taking quite a different approach to Where We'll Go, which also featured Mema Wilda. Whereas he normally sits quite happily within alt country, here we see him using that as a base and then moving in a much rockier direction. The acoustic guitar and gentle keyboard introduction give no indication as to what is going happen, but it is almost as if he said to drummer Adam Tobeck (Outside In) “When we get 20 seconds in then go nuts”, so he did. Bassist Maia Huia is the constant throughout the song, keeping it grounded, while electric guitarist Mitch French moves between picking notes and hitting hard chords.

Sam says it is a “song about the struggles of trying to stay positive through the challenges of everyday life, and how important it is to do that. Being a good person to be around, and not wanting to cast a shadow of negativity around the people you care about.” The song twists and changes throughout, becoming far more dramatic and powerful as it progresses, and there is no doubt that violinist Shimna Higgins has a major part to play in that. She starts sweetly and gently, but as we get further into the song, she uses distortion and wah wah pedal to turn her violin into a powering rock instrument as opposed to something there just for additional colour. Produced by the ineffable David Rhodes, he has captured Sam in a much heavier direction than I would have expected. The result is a song which makes a huge statement, and one can only wonder if this is a springboard into a different musical direction from where Sam has previously been operating.

Here we have Sam at the helm of a rock band who are mixing genres and styles to make something incredibly dynamic and powerful. There is plenty of contrast, yet he is always in firm control, and this melting pot is very special indeed.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

Releases

Let's Go
Year: 2020
Type: Album

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