I have a fleeting affinity for Horse Feathers. The band’s 2008 release, House with No Name, was among my top 10 albums that year. Their 2010 follow up, Thistled Spring, was also a contender. I enjoyed last year’s release, Cynic’s New Year, but in this social media age I find myself focused on bands who have an active online presence. It’s a shame as Horse Feathers are a truly amazing band.
Given my insouciance, I never bothered to delve into the band’s backstory or the provenance of its members. Through my recent post of a live set from Joe Pug, I learned that Sam Cooper was once a member of Horse Feathers.
Anyhow, Sam released his first solo album, Long Lost Love, in 2012. Applying his roots pedigree to music that runs the gamut from doo-wop (“Intro”) to bluegrass (“Spin”) to traditional ballads (“Sally Rose”), Sam has distilled a warm, inviting sound that at its heart is classic pop rock.
No matter the instruments used to shape a particular song, Sam’s vocals are the anchor. Speaking more than singing, Sam is often backed by harmonies that give songs like “Paint” a spiritual quality. While not a clearly evident comparison, the musical vision of the Brian Wilson-led Beach Boys resides on Long Lost Love. Much like Wilson, Sam arranged and recorded the entire album himself.
I won’t go so far as to say the songs on Sam Cooper’s debut are in the same class as those Beach Boys songs on Pet Sounds, but given the album’s structure, Long Lost Love is in its own way a symphony of sorts. Sam Cooper may in fact be made for these times.
Stream Long Lost Love below.
As Sam just released the official video for “Paint” I guess I’m not too far removed after all.