With her play-on-words title in tow, Samantha Crain breaks away from her Midnight Shivers companions to explore 11 tracks of lush, yearning, and at times, try-too-hard sonic landscapes.
Crain immediately lets us in with “Lions,” a raw, pulsing, beyond-her-years slice of bold proclamation. “We promised we would not be afraid anymore,” she sings, her peculiar, soulful vocals taking center stage. At only 23, Crain has created quite the fearless, folky repertoire, performing with the Everybodyfields, the Avett Brothers, and Langhorne Slim. The low-key “Blueprint” proves her power, vulnerability and nuance-crafting, quiet strength.
“I’m just trying to keep it moving,” she proclaims in the roaring guitars-greets-acoustics of “Equinox.” Indeed, Crain keeps it kinetic with hermetic harmonies (“We Are the Same“), witty, Alice-in-Wonderland energy (“Up on the Table“), and guest vocals by label mate and Frontier Ruckus front man, Matthew Milia (“Santa Fe”).
At other times, Crain thrives on chaos. The dissonant, bagpipe-blaring “Two-sidedness” and too off-beat, dragging pastiche of “Toothpicks” briefly interrupts her carefully constructed dream of a world – but Crain, like any seasoned performer, wisely keeps a few surprises hiding up her sleeve.
You (Understood) is out now on Ramseur Records.