I was reading about Hearing is Hard by Mama Sam and the Jam. The band says the release “was written to be listened to as one big long song - a journey of self discovery that dives into the memories of childhood while staring the realness of adulthood in the face.”
Believe it or not there was a time when people listened to music sequentially (you didn’t have much choice with vinyl) because it was understood that it was an artistic statement and the whole was bigger than the sum of its parts. Would you watch a TV series out of order? Probably not especially if you want to understand the story.
The first song is “Hearing is Hard” and it begins with cymbal rolls, hypnotic guitar patterns and a serene sort of vibe. There are some satisfying guitar strums that feel straight out of the playbook from The Who. They found a sturdy groove and once the vocals came in I was happy to hear a fantastic vocal coming from Mama Sam. I liked her voice - in fact I might say loved her voice right off the bat. She sings “people just want to be heard / hearing is hard” which is a powerful but infectious melody.
Up next is “Pale Blues” which brings up the energy over all. The drummer does a great job with the dynamics on this song. There are also just some killer riffs. The band can certainly rock out and sounds like a ’70s classic rock band but they also embrace hazy, dreamy soundscapes that are in similar company to the band Mazzy Star.
“Parties” is just a killer track. Everyone is doing their own distinct thing. The bass has a prominent part but just shift your focus and you’ll hear everyone is doing something interesting. It comes together for a rocking groove. The vocals are again top notch with nostalgic lyrics about childhood. Oh and this song rocks so hard.
Last up is “Take You Back” which is a satisfying way to end the album. The drummer again steps up to the plate and I was loving that hi-hat action that was happening. You will find some prog-rock infused riff on this song.
I think you should listen to this album as it was intended. And as the band states - start from the beginning and just let it ride. Highly recommended.
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