Release Date: Sep 13, 2019
Record label: Interscope
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
In the two-and-a-half years between his first single, the urgent and atmospheric "Play God," and the release of his full-length debut in 2019, much was made of U.K. singer and songwriter Sam Fender's relatively young age -- 23 by the arrival of the latter. After all, he was drawing frequent comparisons to influence Bruce Springsteen, both for the sound of his early singles and for the working-class compassion on display in his lyrics, and he won the Critics' Choice Brit Award in late 2018, an honor previously bestowed upon, among others, Adele and Sam Smith.
The Geordie Springsteen's debut excels at documenting small-town frustration, which is why he means so much to so many people. This album isn't perfect, but he's a welcome antidote to polite chaps with guitars He's a hero in his hometown, and Geordie singer-songwriter Sam Fender has earned a reputation as guitar music's next great hope. But you needn't be a 'real music' bore to appreciate this 25-year-old's talent and ambition.
Indebted to impassioned rockers Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, English northerner Sam Fender muscles out anthemic blazers underpinned with New Wave urgency and guitar rock grit on full-length September bow Hypersonic Missiles. In true Boss homage, the album brims with elegy in tapping Brexit ennui ("White Privilege"), grim acceptance ("Dead Boys"), and explosive sensuality ("You're Not the Only One"). The earnest sax solo in "The Borders" channels Clarence Clemons.
S am Fender seems to have arrived direct from central casting: Brit Critics' Choice award 2019 winner, nominated in 2018's BBC Sound Of poll, looks like a model, background in acting, here we go again. Which means his debut album comes as a shock: a major label in 2019 appears to have signed a male British singer-songwriter who doesn't conform to the standard late 2010s male British singer-songwriter blueprint. He has neither a beard nor a beanie hat, declines to play the acoustic guitar as his primary instrument and seems to have refused to work with the same pool of writers and producers as everyone else.
Sam Fender is a natural storyteller. It's as simple as that. He uses his observational lyrics to tell the stories in his songs. Fender has had a meteoric rise to success, from beating Lewis Capaldi and Mahalia to win this year's Critics' Choice at the BRIT Awards to supporting his hero Bob Dylan in London's Hyde Park.