27 Sep 2023

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Sam Bambery - Album Review: Songs About Sailors

31 Mar 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

One of the real delights in discovering so much NZ music is most of the artists I am asked to review I know nothing about beforehand, so each piece of music is a total surprise and I have no preconceived opinions ahead of time. I also never read press releases until I have played the album/single, so I approach the music very clean. When I heard this for the first time I just sat there with a smile on my face as right from opener Waiting I knew I was in for a good time. This is the debut album from Otautahi-based guitarist and singer, Sam Bambery, who worked with De Stevens (Marlin’s Dreaming, Asta Rangu) and a host of local musicians to create something which reflects his interests in alt-country, traditional folk and no-nonsense indie rock.

He cites quite a few influences in his music, including Wilco, Elliot Smith, Aldous Harding, Cut Worms, Marlon Williams, Adam Hattaway and Delaney Davidson and he is all these things, plus some of his guitar sounds are classic Johnny Cash, but he is very much his own man as well. Country is the pervasive genre throughout the album, but very much from the alternative side, so while it may have that country feel it does not have the swagger and laid-back feel but instead is often more direct and in your face with the indie vibe also very much in play. One of the delights of the album is although there is a strong style throughout, all the songs are very different indeed. Take Over and Out for example, where for the first half of the song it is just him and a strummed electric which is way more folk in feel, then we get that crunching overdrive guitar just for a few notes, totally changing the feel and effect. It is an incredibly dynamic number, full of contrast, with the band dropping in and out, full of passion and power.

The title cut is much more in a traditional country style, where he allows himself to sing with real warmth in his voice, playing an acoustic and some nice steel nuances here and there. I would not have guessed from the title that this album would have such a country influence, as that is often thought of as being related to cowboys and therefore the land, but even when he is singing about the sea it all makes perfect sense. This is a thoroughly enjoyable release, and those who like country, but with more variety and edge thrown in than may often be the case, will find this a real joy and well worth discovering.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Sam Bambery

Otautahi based songwriter Sam Bambery sits at the intersection between deep-hearted folk and edgy, thoughtful indie rock. His songs take the often introspective and personal road, championing both the heartbroken pessimist and the gleeful showman that dwells within him.

Having cut his teeth in the Garden City’s wide music scene, Bambery brings an assortment of influences to his work including Wilco, Steve Gunn, Sharon Van Etten. His band, The Sucrose Kids, is an ever-evolving arrangement of local musicians that approach his folksy, exploratory songs with a modern, artistic sensibility.

Having recorded alongside De Stevens (Marlin’s Dreaming, Asta Rangu), Sam Bambery aims to release his debut album Songs About Sailors on the 24th of March 2022.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Sam Bambery


Songs About Sailors
Year: 2022
Type: Album

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