Sam Fender has managed to master the artistry of capturing raw emotion with his music. I wouldn’t be the first to make the comparison to The Killers and Bruce Springsteen but his debut album ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ nails the nostalgic rock recipe that we’ve come to expect from Fender while simultaneously being so much more. His work is observational, questioning, and utterly human.
The singer-songwriter grew up in North Shields, a British coastal town of just over 30,000 people. His isolation at youth saw him turn to music for an outlet, his songs becoming his search for something more. Inspired by small beginnings Sam’s introspective lyrics tackle the vastness of human nature, untamed and laced with politics and cultural crisis. Somehow the 25-year-old musician manages to tie hopelessness and hope all in one sound as he explores each storyline.
Even the eponymous track ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ is a long tale that doesn’t conform to our usual expectations. In an interview earlier this year Fender stated, "In many ways, 'Hypersonic Missiles' is an unorthodox love song. It’s main focus is on the world around the narrator, who is a complete tin foil hatter. They are convinced the world is on its last legs; they know that it is rife with injustice but feel completely helpless and lacking the necessary intelligence to change it while remaining hopelessly addicted to the fruits of consumerism."
A highlight, ‘Borders’ drives a hypnotic rhythm and a swirling mix of 80s guitar and synth. It’s likeness to Bruce Springsteen has the track exploding with nostalgia. Unpredictably but also delightfully, this is where one of the sax solos makes an appearance.
‘White Privilege’ is an example of Sam’s lyrical mastery as he navigates the brooding cultural observations that generate so much angst in the world. Another notable track from the debut album is ‘Play God’ that whilst being a gem with few facets, shines through with its undeniably contagious rhythm. Wet guitar paces as the aggressive anthem that he sings rings through, “Am I mistaken, or are we breaking? Underweight from the long time, that he played God? He will play God.”
This is not the flawless Fender record that we’ve dreamt of, but as a debut, Hypersonic Missiles blasts through the noise of the mainstream market offering up lyrics that really mean something.
“It [Hypersonic Missiles] feels like something mainstream rock music hasn’t dished up in a long time: an album that sounds not just like a hit, but a loud announcement of a striking talent with the space and potential to mature and develop.” - The Guardian
“Impassioned observation of political unrest and mismanagement that is wrapped in perfect-pop melodies.” – The AU Review