Sam Champion : Heavenly Bender

<img src="" alt=" " />Sam Champion have a lot of fun thanks to some timeless seventies guitar party on their long-in-the-works sophomore full-length, <em>Heavenly Bender</em>....
7.9 North Street

The Brooklyn-based foursome was initially formed around singer/guitarist Noah Chermin (QRO interview), and their debut, 2005’s Slow Rewind, showed that, tending towards the laid-back singer/songwriter styles of Stephen Malkmus (QRO live review) or David Berman (of Silver Jews – QRO album review).  But with Heavenly Bender, the whole band gets in on the act, and they have a great time doing it.

“Like a Secret” opens up Bender on just such a note, party-fun meets seventies guitar-rock, all done in a laid-back fashion.  While this vein has been mined before, Sam Champion don’t feel like retreads, but just folks having a good time on pieces like “Secret”, the following “Be Mine Everyone”, or “Direct”.  “Heavenly Bender” plays it a little more straightforward, while “There Was a Doubt” goes a kind of drunk-sloppy, and things get a little bigger on “You Can’t Stop” and “Jealous Shakes” (though “Stop” doesn’t have quite the power it should).  But Sam Champion’s leading strength is the good times.

‘Leading’ strength – but not ‘only’.  Bender still has some change-ups, such as with the final two tracks, “Lorraine” and “Commitments”.  “Lorraine” is a sad, flowing number, done well considering how much of step outside it was for Sam Champion, while “Commitments” is a slow, slightly odd mix of barroom and Casio keys.  Middle piece “We Will Awaken” has a blues-jam enjoyment, but the standout outsider is the following “Dead Moon”.  Written and sung by guitarist/keyboardist Sean Sullivan, its staccato keys are both different and fitting for the record, thanks to its sly strength.

It hasn’t been easy for Sam Champion to get Heavenly Bender out there, but the band persevered.  And Bender doesn’t feel weary but just rockin’ and fun, a good time at any time.

MP3 Stream: "Direct"

{audio}/mp3/files/Sam Champion – Direct.mp3{/audio}

Album Reviews
  • Anonymous
  • No Comment

    Leave a Reply