More about: Sam Fender
How refreshing it is to finally have someone with something to say; someone relatable and someone that isn’t skirting around the issues in the name of sales, streams and likes. He’s the name on everyone’s lips and despite looking like a Burberry model that wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of Made in Chelsea with those cheekbones, he’s North Shields’ finest export and he’s finally discharged his unabashed and anthemic debut record Hypersonic Missiles.
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Admittedly I was unsure what unearthed gems an album would have to offer given the sheer clout of previous releases, but oh boy I was wrong. Whilst there’s no denying the strength and transcendence of singles ‘Leave Fast’ (the addition of the lingering guitar outro to the album version is most haunting), ‘Play God’ and ‘That Sound’; it’s the subtlety and harrowing nature of new tracks such as ‘Two People’ that really continue to showcase Fender’s unique ability to turn the observational and grave in to something appealing and accessible to all. No matter whether you’re a woman in your thirties (me), a young adult or an older male, the stories he’s telling about one night stands and small town frustration are something everyone can relate to, because heartbreak and dissatisfaction are universal and no-one is immune.
It’s testament to Fender’s abilities that a major label allowed him to completely self-pen a record and have it produced by his long-term pal Bramwell Bronte. But what’s also evident is that it wouldn’t be the juggernaut of a record that it is without that autonomy and the deep rooting it has to Fender’s life in the North East. His focus on the tough and sobering topics such as male toxicity, suicide and sexism are quite clearly authentic and from a place of experience as opposed to merely paying lip service to the themes du jour. A notion that was most evident on the release of ‘Dead Boys’ and that carries through via the likes of ‘The Borders’, which despite sounding like an upbeat 80’s rock classic with its guitars and sax solo, deals with violence and dysfunctional families.
Despite his tender age, there’s great depth, maturity and bravery to everything Fender does and there’s no doubt that it’s this levelheadedness and legitimacy that has struck such a chord. In a world where we are constantly fed lies and arrogance, there’s something very special about being presented with a body of work from someone not afraid to talk about his vulnerabilities and pose those difficult questions about the muddled world we currently live in.
Hypersonic Missiles isn’t just a collection of songs from a talented young man, it’s an education for anyone who wants to know the confusing reality of life in Great Britain in 2019 when you haven’t been handed everything on a plate.
Hypersonic Missiles is out now via Polydor.
More about: Sam Fender