Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Review: Sam Densmore “Ku-Thar’-Tik”


Sam Densmore is a singer/songwriter from Portland, Oregon who has poured all he’s learned about love and loss during his first 40 years into his latest album, “Ku-Thar’-Tik”. “Ku-Thar’-Tik” is actually a double EP: the first entitled “Sad Songs For A Sad World” and the second called “Cat Years”. Together, they consist of 17 tracks that are recorded in the lo-fi format, reminiscent of the organic feel Paul Westerberg has been shooting for on his most recent efforts. Densmore earned a BA degree in music composition in 1996, and his abilities have been polished over the years in various bands including Slow Children, Frequency db, and Silverhawk.

I would characterize Sam’s vocals along the lines of Michael Stipe (R.E.M.) or Dave Pilner (Soul Asylum), and the music he crafts is in the neighborhood of Elliot Smith or Guster at times. While the arrangements are sparse, this isn’t to say the artistry is not sophisticated. Beautiful chord changes and harmonies are heard throughout the course of this album and the simplicity forces you to focus on the message without being distracted by the smoke and mirrors of glitzy production tricks. I would be lying, however, if I didn’t admit that there are several songs on here that would stand to benefit from a more climatic ending or added dynamics.

At 17 tracks, there is a lot to digest. If this style piques your interest, I’d encourage you to check out “So Complex”, “Groan”, and “Sophisticated” on the first half. The second portion is much fuzzier and less accessible to my ears, but I’d point you to “She’s Going To Want You” or “Live Another Life” for sampling.

“Ku-Thar’-Tik” will be available on June 19.

Sam Densmore – Facebook.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice description/write-up!