Apres Vous Records
14 July 2014
by Hugh Platt
Now more than 15 years old, Biffy Clyro’s recording career has now well and truly reached the point that the direct influence of the Kilmarnock trio has now seeped into the very firmament of the UK rock scene. No longer can it be said that it’s simply a case of bands sharing the same influences as Simon Neil – it’s Biffy themselves who are the keystone for a whole generation of young British musicians. That isn’t a backhanded way of dismissing Samoans‘ first long-player, but it is indicative of one of the issues that stops it from being truly great.
Samoans have constructed much of Rescue of similar musical matter to that which Biffy adopted when writing Puzzle – that same delicate balance between complexity and accessibility that made that album Biffy’s breakthrough – but it’s when Samoans twist that blueprint into more difficult shapes that the album really shows the underlying promise of the band. ‘Lightning Beneath The Sea’ swims around the same swirling seas of mid-period Deftones, while ‘I Am Your Destiny’ shivers with the same kind of fragile power Russian Circles have made their mark with.
There’s a wounded, maudlin core to both the lyrics and vocal performance of Samoans’ Dan Barnett, no doubt born from the time in 2013 when he was recovering from a broken back. He manages to do so without being dreary, and without tempering any of the intensity of the music he accompanies. It’s a careful, considered display of talent that further underlines that while there may be one, single influence that looms over much of this album, Rescue is by no means a parrot-fashion repetition of that band’s hallmarks.
It’s that extra bit of talent, the solid core of ideas, that gives Samoans the air of a band who are here to survive and outgrow the lazy Biffy Clyro comparisons this review started with. In a decade or so, gaggles of semi-celebrity talking heads will be lining up to exaggerate how much they loved Simon Neil and co “back in the day” on unimaginatively-commissioned TV retrospectives with programme names like From Toilet Venues To Headlining Reading Festival: The Biffy Clyro Story. Bands like Samoans will have taken that initial platform that Biffy’s music offered and turned them into something different and totally spectacular. This debut is as fine an introduction as a young band could hope for, but its promise of what could come in the future is what makes this something worth giving a spin to.
Sounds Like: Someone made a Biffy Clyro and Deftones mixtape to try to impress a girl.
Standout Tracks: ‘Lightning Beneath The Sea’