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Sam Kills Two - Sam Kills Two

  by Anthony Middleton

published: 24 / 1 / 2009

Sam Kills Two - Sam Kills Two
Label: Rocket Girl
Format: CD


Finely performed and produced debut album from Sam Kills Two, the new band of Dodgy's Nigel Turner, which, while never less than well executed, never matches its potential

This is one of those albums that are hard to pin down because on the one hand there is so much talent and integrity on display that anyone who likes music should be suitably impressed. It is well performed and produced; showcasing it’s maker’s prodigious talents, without becoming showy or navel gazing. On the other hand, the whole thing seems to wash over you. You tap your foot occasionally and try to hum along, but you know that this CD is not going to be a major part of your music rotation in years to come. Sam Kills Two, the provenance of the name is a mystery though a Google search proffers an Edwarian era Naïve American of the same moniker, are essentially a threesome, though reinforced on the album by producer, bassist and former lead singer of Dodgy, Nigel Clark. Now, I only know one song by Dodgy and will probably commit some heinous crime if I ever hear it again. In fact I am reluctant to write the name for fear that the song will lodge itself in my mind. That won’t work, so 'Good Enough' was the horror which assaulted us everyday for months back in 90s and that feel good, jaunty pop is certainly somewhere in the DNA of this, though thankfully, not too prevalent. Lead singer and guitarist Fred Bjorkvall has one of those light, strained indie voices which depend wholly on the quality of the song writing and musicianship of the band to succeed. He certainly couldn’t make the sonic equivalent of a silk purse from a sow’s ear. That’s never required as there is always so much adequate to good quality song-smithery on offer and lead guitarist Geoff Gamlen. Drummer Matt Bell and Clark are such versatile, accomplished performers. Perhaps that’s why the opening number, 'Flatland', is an instrumental which displays the virtuosity of the band at its restrained best with a moody double acoustic guitar piece. 'Passenger List' is one of the band’s more up tempo songs and pushes breezily along like the train alluded to in the titled. Things become more downbeat with 'Lay Low', where Bjorkvall gets as much out of his lacklustre voice as possible with a backing that builds up from a simple guitar accompaniment to fully fledged chamber pop piece with cello. That Sam Kills Two are justly proud of their abilities in writing, performing and producing music is shown with the album for a second occasion when Bjorkvall is given a chance to concentrate on his guitar work on 'Instrumental No 2'. The limitations and the abilities of Sam Kills Two are ably demonstrated in the album’s Indie-Power-Rock finale which is, from the first strum of its sparse opening to the crescendo of the finale, predictable, yet perfectly executed. And it is perhaps that predictability that lets the album down again and again.

Track Listing:-
1 Flatland
2 2020
3 Passenger List
4 Lay Low
5 No 6
6 Instrumental No 2
7 Your Whisper
8 Floating
9 Electric Shock
10 Polar Winter

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