The Sammies, The Sammies

The Sammies, The Sammies

You know how sometimes bands produce albums that meander down various paths, randomly picking at genres of music and making it work? It’s usually a refreshing change of pace, isn’t it? An album that successfully and modernly weaves together sounds from rock, Motown, country, or pop is a economical way to get a little bit of everything you might like all in one musical voyage.

Take Rilo Kiley’s 2004 release, More Adventurous, for example. From beginning to end, More Adventurous takes you on a contemporary trip through an array of diverse musical musings. While the songs don’t follow a formulaic indie-pop sound, the record pushes the bounds of indie music and offers its listeners a light-hearted journey into other types of music they maybe hadn’t been exposed to before. More Adventurous is kind of like Cliffs Notes for hipsters.

Now, why am I talking about Rilo Kiley when I’m supposed to be reviewing the Sammies’ self-titled debut album? It’s to help you gain a frame of reference for how on-the-other-end-of-the-spectrum The Sammies is.

The songs, for the most part, are actually pretty good. The music is catchy and well played, and it makes for an enjoyable listening experience overall. Is the band new or unlike anything you have ever heard before, however? Um, no. The first five songs on the CD comprise the “indie” portion of your listening experience, and “Caretaker” is so painfully close to The Dandy Warhols’ “Shakin'” (off Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia) that it’s laughable. One of their singers (no idea which one) has a voice that so yearns to be Courtney Taylor only it comes out nowhere near as beautifully arrogant and blasé. The rest of the CD sounds like Jet with a little of something else mixed in — I want to say The Rolling Stones, but I think that would be giving the album too much credit.

There are two, maybe three, distinct possible albums lurking in the depths of the Sammies. I’d even venture to say that had they developed three distinctly different albums all at once, it would have been more convincing than the muddled, hurried feel of their debut attempt. They would have had time to nurture their obvious ability to play lots of different kinds of music. Here, though, the band members tried so hard to be different that they ended up sounding just like everyone else. Perhaps what sets them apart is that they sound like everyone else across a couple of different genres of music all on the same album. So, technically, that does make them different. Right?

Despite the haphazard and somewhat trite air of The Sammies, the band’s ability to play good music and keep the listener’s interest throughout the album leads me to believe that with a little more experience, the Sammies have the potential to produce something really worthwhile in the years to come.

(MoRisen Records -- 2125 Southend Drive, Suite 451, Charlotte, NC. 28203; http://www.morisen.com/; The Sammies -- http://www.myspace.com/thesammies)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Friday, March 2nd, 2007. Filed under Reviews.

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