Vanessa Carlton if she was a little more Mitski guitar orientated.
Following on from her successful and excellent debut album ‘The Baby’ last year, ‘Scout’ is a short and sweet EP that feels like the transition of a sound. ‘The Baby’ had an alternative rock feel to it. ‘Scout’ is a little more laid back (but the guitars still pack a punch or two), as if it’s a collection of slow bruisers that didn’t quite fit the album but feel remarkably cohesive as an entity of its own.
Samia’s style of rock reminds me a little of Mitski for two reasons. Firstly, Samia doesn’t do filler – she largely crams her songs into three minutes. This means she’s focused on the hook and quick verse/chorus transitions. Bringing those pop sensibilities into her alt-rock fashion works well and she follows Mitski’s love of switching guitar styles up too. Vocally she also sounds very similar to Vanessa Carlton’s voice. I largely don’t like to compare artists so directly but at times the voices are uncannily similar.
Thankfully Samia distinguishes herself with her musical style. ‘As You Are’ is a slow piano and guitar-led ballad intro that leads into three great bangers. ‘Show Up’ has a slow dirge power rock chorus that bursts in from quiet and lethargic verses. The transition blasts in and makes everything bright and searing. ‘Elephant’ meanwhile is a washed-out hazy guitar piece with a skipping pop beat – again crossing that alt-pop genre with large strides. It sounds so unassuming on first listen but quickly became a favourite. ‘The Promise’ features vocals from Jelani Aryeh and feels like an 80’s pop duet that would have been a chart-topper. The lyrics are sweet and affirming as the two declare a promise to look after each other. The electro-pop bops remind me of Savage Garden, Phil Collins and Christopher Cross in a washing machine. It sounds like nothing else Samia has done but ends an opaque EP with an uplifting uptempo wave goodbye.
Whilst I’d absolutely recommend starting with ‘The Baby’ if you are new to Samia, ‘Scout’ is a lovely addition. It shows some new sides to Samia’s music we haven’t heard directly whilst confirming her ability to write earworms that creep up on you without realising. Definitely, a musician to watch for the future.
Recommended track: Show Up
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