Review by Dom Vigil
“I’m a new school outlaw/break all the rules and I don’t leave the house at all,” Sam Morrow croons, setting the mood for There Is No Map, his newest full-length release. “Barely Holding On,” the first track on the album, isn’t necessarily an explosive or big opener, but within seconds, listeners will be able to understand just what it is that Sam Morrow wants to accomplish with There Is No Map. Littered with strong lyricism, which is established right off the bat, creative songwriting, and instrumental work that will make your head spin, There Is No Map is not only a fun listen, but it is also easy to connect with and understand.
The same strong lyricism that is found in the opener, “Barely Holding On” is also a high point in the following track, “The Deaf Conductor,” as soon as the very first line. However, the lyricism isn’t the only strong point on this song. The guitar work, while rather mellow is captivating, and the bass work is heavy, carrying the song forward. The following song, “Wasted Time” shows another mellow and emotional side of Sam Morrow. That same strong lyricism is still prominent in this song, but again, isn’t the only strong aspect, as the vocal harmonies and emotion in the vocals take center stage. The emotion in Morrow’s vocal work is palpable in this track, feeling raw and open for listeners.
Where “Wasted Time” is more on the mellow side, “Girls” is much more upbeat and fun-loving before going right back into another slow song with “Green.” Morrow’s soulful vocal abilities hit the mark on the upbeat tracks as well, but they really shine on songs like “Green.” The following song, “Train Robber,” however is a great example of Morrow’s strong vocals on more upbeat songs, especially in the chorus of the track. The instrumentals are great in this song as well, from the wild guitar solos and piano to the strong backbone of drums and bass.
The cool thing about Sam Morrow’s voice is the fact that he can go from bigger songs like “Train Robber,” which, while soulful and raw is also very upbeat and catchy, to slower, softer and more emotional songs like “Hurts Like Hell” without missing a beat. Morrow’s voice takes on a very soft and emotional quality in “Hurts Like Hell,” but it hits just as hard as the soulful runs of “Train Robber” because of the way he delivers it.
Unfortunately, There Is No Map seems to lose a little momentum right before the end with “Devil’s in the Details.” The song is interesting, because it sounds very different from the rest of the album, but unfortunately, doesn’t seem to hold as much soul as the songs before it. However, Sam Morrow definitely makes up for it with the quiet and personal closing track, “There Is No Map.” With a lingering message of “We’re all just a little insane,” the final song delivers yet again in the lyricism, especially with the standout line, “I’ve seen a little blood/A lot of my own/I didn’t learn too much/Back when I knew it all.”
There Is No Map isn’t necessarily loud, explosive or in your face by any means, but where it lacks in big moments, Sam Morrow makes up for in soulful vocals, meaningful instrumentals and incredible lyricism. Winding down on a slower, emotional note, There Is No Map is sure to leave listeners hanging and waiting for more.
Listen to "Train Robber" or "There Is No Map"
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