At some point it became a thing that to convey emotional sincerity in independent rock music, you had to have sound that was extremely raw in the way of the like, the early Jade Tree-bands-that-got-popular sense. That is to say, your voice had sound like it was on the verge of breaking along with with appropriate quiet-loud-quiet music. Outside of Afghan Whigs, Girls Against Boys and whoever else I’m forgetting that was just the established style. For good or ill, it usually strikes me as an immature sound. It’s a thing that works, but it’s also somehow conveys a lack of experience and years.
I wrote all that just to tell you that History is not that record and Sam Goodwill not that guy. This is an emotionally sincere rock record, but it’s so deeply woven together with soul and R&B elements that it’s light years ahead of anything else I’ve heard recently in terms of sophistication. I recently did a quick review of Pretty Lights’ newest which is also a strong electro-soul outing. Listening to History taught me the difference between loving soul and understanding it. Where Pretty Lights is a love letter to the genre, Sam Goodwill knows soul. Which to me is the big thing of this album. Lyrically this is a fairly heavy record, but these songs never feel dark. The rock and the pop underpinnings make for songs that are anything but mopey. The whole thing is danceable on top of everything else.
So yes, I am into this record. It’s fantastic. It should be the soundtrack for a hit movie. Sam Goodwill should be a huge star. I hope that happens.