sam willows

Blending folksy tunes and electronic music isn’t exactly the most original sonic trick up any musician’s sleeves these days. And yet, that seems to be The Sam Willows’ trademark on its debut major label full-length.

What sets this pop quintet apart from other similar contemporaries then? Nothing much, really. On the surface, it would appear that the buzz surrounding this Singaporean act has much to do with its strong digital presence instead of well, legit studio stuff.

That isn’t to say that The Sam Willows is all play, and no work. The album’s title track is an aspirational larger-than-thou number that, by means of squelching basslines on the chorus, turns into an unexpected and electrifying stadium-filling ode.

“Take heart, this world is ours,” Take Heart earnestly begins. Aspirational is the keyword here. And at times, the numbers do sound too church hymn-like for the charts.

When the twenty-somethings are not preaching those surreptitious uplifting sentiments though, they meander into cloying ballad territory on tracks such as For Love and Stay.

That inability to balance between heart-on-sleeves and ultra-anthemic is glaring on this debut, often times resulting in a clunky listening experience. The one exception here is the festival-friendly Riverdance.

The Sam Willows still has much to learn about pop versatility. But until then, I suppose they have just got to take heart.

The Sam Willows

Take Heart

Sony Music