ALBUM REVIEW: Sam Fender – Hypersonic Missiles | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Polydor

Released: 13.09.19

 

 

 

 

 

Sam Fender’s rise has been nothing shy of stratospheric. The biggest musical export from the North East since PJ and Duncan has won fans from Annie Mac to Zane Lowe since he walked off with the Brits critics’ choice award in 2018. Nowadays you’d be more likely to find him chatting to Elton John than hanging around in the kitchen at the Tynemouth Surf Café, so it seems incomprehensible that it’s taken almost a year to follow up his Dead Boys EP.

The album opens with the title track and it offers the first taste of something Fender has never tried to hide – his total adoration of The Boss. There are saxophone lines that Clarence Clemons would have been proud of all over this record, and as Fender himself put it recently in an interview with the NME: “I’d say it’s a nod to Bruce Springsteen, although my publisher says it’s a head butt”.

Hypersonic Missiles wears its influences on its sleeve; there are healthy doses of Don Henley on The Borders and flashes of the Strokes on Will We Talk. You’re Not The Only One (which is comfortably the best track not previously released) has another screeching sax solo and more than a pinch of The War On Drugs. 

Fender writes music which can do nothing but propel him onto the biggest of stages, but after a solid selection of arena-sized anthems he’s not averse in showing his gentler side too. Two People, a series of vignettes of love in desolate places, is heart-wrenchingly tender while Leave Fast proves to be such a wonderfully cinematic end to a record that it’s used for the second release in a row.

The hype around this album has made it almost impossible for Fender to exceed expectations. I’ll admit sometimes the musical touchstones are a bit too overt, but this young lad from North Shields has done it his way, recorded songs laced with acerbic lyrics about male suicide, the cult of celebrity and Tory Britain with his mates in a shed by the Tyne and come up more than canny. 

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