This is a review of "Untitled" recorded by Samsa. The review was written by Sam Saunders in 2003.
Following on from a whole album full of stuff back in 2002, Samsa are back in the hunt with a three track EP that comfortably fulfills the promise of the best stuff on that first expedition. Samsa take the serious risk of being musically inventive. They ring changes, use variety and dynamics and generally give great value for the time you take to listen.
"Sweet Disease" starts as a deceptively conventional indie-rock-a-long, but gradually adds loads of very spiky guitar and sweetly muscular bass and becomes a little feast o' sonic fun.
"The Bug" has a fantastic guitar thrashing start, with dry sounding chords played right on the edge. OK, maybe the vocals are not completely plugged in, and sound a bit uncommitted up against that rasping guitar and bass. So where Sweet Disease builds itself into a really good track, "The Bug" starts great and gets a little messy. Still well worth a place in the cut though.
"Looking Over Shoulders" has light percussion and rich double notes on the bass. The voice comes in frail-and-abandoned mode, doing a good minor key tune with a nod (no longer the full kowtow) towards classic pre OK Computer Thom Yorke. It's none the worse for that. It stands out as a very fine song. The band gets more and more involved with an imaginative stir of noises and notes. There are some haunting and distant choir-like vocals in a crescendo building mid section, then it's back down again to the isolated voice and two-note stabs at the top end of the base. An epic song, with a complex, but still out-of-yer-face arrangement. The music is clever, but it's also smart enough not to make itself the main issue.
What a good EP.