Album Review: Samantha Crain – A Small Death

Samantha Crain releases her new record after a time of personal turmoil which included physical injuries that left her unable to play her instrument. These challenging circumstances inspired her new album ‘A Small Death’ – creating a distinctive musical style that is atmospheric, dark and hauntingly beautiful.

An Echo creates an eerie and emotive sound, with an unusual rise and fall of the instruments. Throughout this song, and across the album, her voice hits such stunning emotional heights and depths. The music could be called Americana or indie rock but then there’s brass and flutes and everything in there too.

On Pastime the soundscapes she has created can’t fail to give you goosebumps. Holding on to the Edge of Night sounds like it comes from another world, echoing feelings back to us across time.

Desire informs these songs with much inner conflict and soul searching. On High Horse she sings I know the shame of a great heartache and the weight of her feelings is in every note.

Reunion uses the pedal steel in a really interesting way, and Joey also uses a variety of instruments that make these songs unique. Construction Eviction is a lighter moment, balancing the tone. On Garden Dove she echoes a Radiohead guitar riff, before some brass makes the music take another turn entirely.

Tough for You is understated vocally, telling the story of her attempt to hide her suffering and the instruments are so perfectly reflective of her conflicted emotions.

The stunning When We Remain is sung in Choctaw, honouring her Native American identity and strengthening her connection to a language and culture that is under threat. She finishes with Little Bits, her vocals a little punk rock in contrast with the lilting music.

In a great interview with the wonderful Secret Meeting blog Crain describes this album as ‘cathartic’ and a way to move on from her past traumas. By producing the album herself she has created a deeply personal and inventive musical vision.

This album is released on Lucy Rose’s new label ‘Real Kind Records’ and she has chosen a truly special record to launch this new imprint.


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