sun 14/07/2024

CD: Samantha Crain – Kid Face | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Samantha Crain – Kid Face

CD: Samantha Crain – Kid Face

Breakthrough album from Oklahoma’s rootsy singer-songwriter

Drawing colour from country and Appalachian traditions while echoing the world-weary moods of singer-songwriters like Karen Dalton, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and Townes Van Zandt, the third album from Oklahoma’s Samantha Crain doesn’t surprise musically. Kid Face constructs its world carefully and deliberately, but although like the disclosure of a private world still feels immediate.

Kid Face follows up to 2010’s You (Understood) and is more sparse. It’s even more so than the album which preceded that, 2009’s Songs in the Night, recorded with her former band The Midnight Shivers. By stripping back, Crain further reveals her voice which is more ageless wraith than that of someone in their mid-20s. In exposing her prime asset, the album draws attention to a distracting mannerism which oddly recalls prime period Liam Gallagher: a tendency to draw vowel sounds out, so “was” becomes “waw-aw-aw-oz”.

Once acclimatised to that foible, the ear is beckoned towards songs which initially ebb and flow, and then build towards controlled yet tense climaxes. Each is a self-possessed observation on where she is going, where she wants to be, how she fits in – “somebody better say a prayer for me, ‘cause I need a break from this whole scene” – and how she is seen.The exception is “For the Miner”, a prescient reflection on singer Jason Molina who died after the album was completed. Despite the vocal affectations and distillation of over-familiar raw materials, the assured and sometimes raw Kid Face feels like a breakthrough album. If in thrall to early Bon Iver, First Aid Kit and Sharon Van Etten, dig in.

Overleaf: watch Samantha Crain perform the title track from Kid Face

Visit Kieron Tyler’s blog


Watch Samantha Crain perform the title track from Kid Face



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