Sam Barnes – Wired World (single review)

OK, so the next song that popped into our shared inbox here at About Sound was this debut offering from acclaimed music artist Sam Barnes. Sam is originally from North Wales and has written music for the S4C detective drama Hinterland. In fact, if you go to Sam’s website, the first thing you are greeted with is a gallery of hi-res photographs from the show. “Wired World” is the first single from his debut album which is due out in August.

The first impression I had of the song was that it felt fragmented, although it has a dreamy, insistent quality that threads through and just about holds the whole thing together. I didn’t really want to use the term “dreamy” when describing the tune as it’s a bit of a cliché around music, but this almost made me feel like I had fallen asleep listening to a playlist which has drifted through 10, really beautiful sounding background. It has something of a Father John Mistry feel to it in places.

The song, to me at least, feels really emotionally evocative. It would make an excellent soundtrack over a mardy black and white show about a sad loner coming of age in eventually inspiring circumstances. It has a hypnotic, repetitive quality, while also not having any obvious discernible hook (I have listened 15-20 times over the weekend and probably still couldn’t sing it to you but I don’t think that’s the point).

In his record company press release it mentions the word “sonic landscapes”. That is what I feel Sam has created here. It doesn’t feel like a song as such as something really beautiful that I’d quite like playing in the background whenever I was relaxing.

I think, if I was in a log cabin getting down and jiggy on a bearskin rug in front of a roaring fire, this would be on my playlist. If I was revving up to go to a club or wanted to dance or sing along to something, it wouldn’t be, although the song does build nicely toward the end into almost a 90’s shoegaze type of sound it could almost have come from Ride or The Telescopes.

I’ve not heard any other of Sam’s work so I don’t know how this single would fit into his overall set or sound. Would I go see him live? Sure, providing there was somewhere comfy to sit, I’m in. It was interesting and soothing and evocative. Not my jam, but I could certainly appreciate what Sam is doing and look forward to hearing the full album when it’s released to see how this tune sits in context.

“Wired World” is already out via the brilliant Rose Parade Recording Co on all of the usual streaming platforms. Click HERE to listen to it on Spotify.

Simon Cullen – 29/03/2021

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