2 Dec 2023

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Sam Higham - Album Review: Jam Fish

20 Nov 2023 // A review by Rob Harbers
Poneke’s Sam Higham has just released his debut solo album Jam Fish. With an audacious precocity belying his mere 26 years, this one-man production threatens to smash many preconceptions, and burrow its way into your head with its multi-faceted attack, one that would fall, for want of a better position, into the arena of ‘progressive’. Unless the kids these days have any other way to describe such an ambitious, genre-hopping sustained burst of pure creative energy such as this, that is!

Opening track, Tape Deck Mimic, opens on a quiet and vulnerable note that, if I’m honest, nearly had me reaching for the off button. A slow, slightly dirge-like vocal and piano intro was not the kind of stuff I really had the spoons for at the time! But I persisted, and at about a minute in, the drums kicked in, and the second verse saw a build in intensity, as more instruments came in to the mix, slowly increasing the dynamic tension. And then, at the halfway mark, this relatively sedate cruise suddenly goes pedal-to-the-metal, balls-to-the-wall bonkers! In the absolute best of ways, that is. From there, it’s an enjoyable bounce between these two poles, setting up some interesting anticipation of what’s to come.

The following track Fishbowl introduces a brooding, atmospheric urgency reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails, before transitioning to a close that would do Queen proud. This almost bipolar approach continues through to Is That Sarcasm?, kicking off with an almost pastoral feel, over a riff with an echo of The Cult’s Edie, but building to an intense guitar breakout that in its wake leaves some Pink Floyd-like keyboard touches.

Having established the format of glorious unpredictability laid out in the opening salvos, the album continues down this path. One which is something akin to an auditory version of a trail through an enchanted forest, where at every turn there is something new to be found. One that counterpoints moments of stark fragility against bursts of delicious bombast. One with an attendant load of earworm riffs that will invade your thoughts! In short, an audaciously accomplished piece that is a true credit to the creative mind behind it, and well worth checking out – and persisting with, as it’s delightful perversity will always have surprises for you. Like an average day in our largest city-if you don’t like it right now, just give it a little while, it’s sure to change!


About Sam Higham

In an ongoing battle with the future, and a nostalgia for the past, Sam Higham’s music is familiar yet unpredictable.

Higham’s solo project was born in a dark damp flat, in the outer suburbs of Wellington, New Zealand, covering subjects of corruption, conversation, confusion, loss, purpose, and helplessness. Taking on the role of an entire band himself, the 26 year old plays all the instruments featured on his upcoming debut album Jam Fish set to release late 2023.

Sam Higham first made a name for himself in Wellington's music scene as the drummer/keyboardist for alt rock band Pale Lady. After forming in 2016 the band released two well received EP’s and a collection of singles. In 2017 the band succeeded in winning NZ’s Battle of the Bands competition, leading to an international tour through Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Sam Higham


Jam Fish
Year: 2023
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Rob Harbers

Ryan Fisherman - Album Review: Country EMO
13 Oct 2023 // by Rob Harbers
When initially asked if I could do a review of this album, to be perfectly honest I’d never heard of Ryan Fisherman. But having had its silky charms beguiling my ears for the past few weeks, his is definitely a name I want to hear more from!
Album Review: Mana Mushroom
30 Aug 2023 // by Rob Harbers
Poneke’s Mana Mushroom’s eponymous self-titled debut EP has emerged into the world, and it’s a banger! Showing the benefit of a long period of gestation in the live arena, this impressive instrumental collection has its aim stated as “to stimulate listeners' senses in a way which evokes a sense of wonder about the world and our place in it", and it achieves this aim.
Bazurka - Album Review: Novi Grad All Stars
06 Jul 2023 // by Rob Harbers
Te-Whanganui-a-Tara’s Bazurka back up their cool-as-fuck name with a refreshingly distinct sound, one that brings the spirit of the Balkans alive in contemporary Aotearoa.Their new album, Novi Grad All Stars, opens with a flourish of brass, leading in to a delicate violin threnody, which then segues into a syncopated groove, in which all the players are given their opportunity to shine.
Guardian Singles - Album Review: Feed Me To The Doves
03 Jul 2023 // by Rob Harbers
Tamaki Makaurau’s Guardian Singles are keeping the spirit of punk alive and kicking with their sophomore album, Feed Me To The Doves.From the first minute of opener Chad and Stacey, with its references to the peculiar blend of bitterness and displaced envy that is the incel hallmark, it’s clear that here is a band with much to say, and they’re going to make damn sure you can’t ignore them!
Space Waltz - Album Review: Victory
13 Jun 2023 // by Rob Harbers
Way back in New Zealand’s entertainment history, as hard as it may be to believe, long before the days of streaming, if you wanted to watch TV you had one choice. State broadcasting provided all content, across a single channel.
Gig Review: The Bravo Uniform Mikes w/ Cherry Punch @ Paisley Stage, Napier - 26/05/2023
29 May 2023 // by Rob Harbers
In a venture threatening the eardrums of all those who come near, the ever-so-subtly named Bravo Uniform Mikes have paired up with Cherry Punch for the Bum Punch tour across Te-Ika-a Maui. Kicking off at Napier’s coolest little venue (tm), Paisley Stage, this pairing gave a powerful demonstration of the treats in store for those who make the effort to catch them on the remaining dates.
Gig Review: Stretch @ Common Room, Hastings - 27/04/2022
28 Apr 2023 // by Rob Harbers
In honour of his turangawaewae, Stretch is playing 3 nights running across the battered, but resolute, province of Hawkes Bay, from Napier in the north to the very southern tip, his original hometown of Dannevirke. This set of shows carries the moniker of 'My Heart, My Home' - a reflection of their ethos, which is to seek to bring a small degree of healing to this traumatised area.
View All Articles By Rob Harbers

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Jack Harlow
    Tate McRae
    Doja Cat
    Doja Cat
    Teddy Swims
    Kenya Grace
    Ocean Alley
    Taylor Swift
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem