For the last decade Sam Joole has been touring, making music and fully immersing himself as a musician. On his journey he has built an appreciation for a myriad of styles and it shows on his latest release Shapeshifting. I am usually not a huge fan of artists jumping from style to style on an album but Joole pulls it off if only for the reason of the exceptional delivery, songwriting and production.
There are a number of highlights amongst the batch of songs. The first song was “Poverty Blues” which sounds like a mix of Vampire Weekend, Paul Simon’s Graceland and Brazilian music. I really think you have to be one jaded individual to not appreciate this song. It bursts with life, energy and puts you in a festive mood within the first thirty seconds. “Poverty Blues” is perfect for a party where people may want to dance or just talk with the music in the background. It has enough of a beat to dance to but isn’t obnoxious like EDM can be.
Joole sings, “Jonny walked into the town. He looked into the house of holy`s and he started to frown / Jonny looked at the horizon and he sang about the day when all his pains and problems would just start to fade away / He was caught up in the cycle, of the poverty stricken blues.”
Joole pulls off Django Reinhardt style guitar playing on “Hollywood.” You can picture people dancing during prohibition and I thoroughly enjoyed the violin, walking bass line and Joole’s vocals. It’s top notch. Then you have a song like “Reality Show” which is folk/pop and showcases another side of Joole that somehow he pulls off. It contains some of the most infectious vocal melodies. He sings, “you remind me of the girl next door. Now you'll please me like you couldn't before share your soul on my reality show. A 15 second superstar. She`s happening again.”
Joole even takes on reggae with “Soul Shine” which immediately made me want to lay down in a hammock with a coconut drink and forget about all my problems while “Survivor” has some of the unconventional uses of tone and sounds but ends up sounding very good together.
I’m not going to give away everything but I will say that Joole doesn’t have many kinks in his armor. Shapeshifting is the rare anomaly of an album that pulls of very different styles from song to song. Highly Recommended.
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