Sometimes we tell you that an artist’s sound is somewhat derivative or a virtual copy of another artist and we mean it as a negative, a lack of originality or a weaker version of something that already exists. In fact, that’s usually what we say. But The Sam Chase is different. If you know what The Tallest Man On Earth sounds like, you know what The Sam Chase sounds like. Generally, that wouldn’t be a compliment, but to say that they sounds like one of the most unique and eloquent songwriters of our generation is praise.
From the very beginning of the record, the scratchy voice and finger picking make it difficult to think of anything other than Kristian Matsson. But when frontman (you guessed it) Sam Chase starts to sing, you understand that these lyrics aren’t things you can get from anyone else. They’re personal, meaningful, honest, and poignant. You can’t listen to this album and not relate to the lyrics. It’s a rare album that contains songs that all have meaning, objectively and subjectively, and makes it an album less heard than felt.
The first song that really hits is “Rock Bottom Never Felt So Good”. It’s a song about living a short life but one that’s worthy. This verse may be the best verse of the year.
They say you can’t do this forever, I don’t intend to prove them wrong,
but you know even the longest lives don’t really last for very long.
So I’ll live it while I’ve got it and what I’ve got, I’m living fine.
But when you tell your kids your stories, you know they’d all rather hear mine
Oh, you don’t seem so impressed, at least as far as I can tell.
But you know I can play guitar and sing and I can do it pretty well.
But I owe every lyric, every riff, and every song
to all the things that I have done even when most of them were wrong.
But you know that is just my life where nothing ever is enough
You can tell me what you will about my ways and I’ll politely tell you to “fuck off.”
It’s a disservice to not talk about each and every song on this album. “In A Perfect World” is a reflective song, one full of advice and introspection. “Color of Bone” is a slow song about the inevitably of death. It’s deep, long and very dark, but one that resonates long after listening. The song that lingered with me longest was “Hero To Myself”. It’s an extremely personal song, as if written from a person’s diary.
People often ask me why I do this to myself
I often dodge the question, I say I do it for my health.
But the answer is much deeper than I’m willing to delve.
But nobody delves deeper than me .
So take all of your judgements and save them for someone else
My psychology is no mystery and my worth is not your wealth
I just need a friend to help me and a friend that needs my help
A hero is all I really need
A hero is all I ever wanted to be.
“Birds” is the song that is most like The Tallest Man on Earth in tone and sound. It’s a great song and could easily be mistaken for his next single. With banjos, strings, and guitars, “Cold Night” is another confessional song. “I need another long night like I need a rope around my neck.” This song feels almost like an honest friend talking to you after another long night. When he writes, “What’s the point of being a better man if you can never be the best?” it feels like a real question and one that’s difficult to answer. Finally, he closes with “These nights may be the stuff of legends, so let’s make legends of ourselves.”
The album closes with “Quittin’ Time”, an excellent instrumental outro. Before that, though, is “Old Blood”, an ode to the family and friends that have come before, a longing to be with them and to be one of them. Lyrically, it’s genius and it’s music matches it step for step. This album is a phenomenal work of art. From start to finish, this album deserves dozens of listens. It’s complete and whole, something nearly flawless. Look for more from this artist and this album later in the year to be sure.