Samuel Lambeth is a well known figure on the West Midland music scene. Over the last decade, the Wolverhampton based musician fronted three local acts (The MonoBloggers in 2009, Quinn in 2017 and recently, the alternative outfit Winona), self released sort of a “greatest hits” album entitled “10 Years on Four Chords: The Best of 2009 – 2019” and launched a successful solo career. He is also a journalist, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter.
It seems that Sam cannot stay idle. And this is a fantastic news as his recent single “The King (You and Me)” is probably one of his best. Reviewers can be generous with their praises but if an unsigned artist is being likened to REM, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Noel Gallagher, then you better pay attention.
“The King” starts slowly with an acoustic guitar and piano, quickly to explode into a full pop-rock extravaganza with catching melodies and a very radio friendly vibes. The song is so easily memorable that before it reaches its first chorus, you are already singing along. There is a lovely guitar solo in the middle, a slower semi acoustic passage in the third minute and the end of the song could make The Calling green with envy.
I’m really surprised that nobody commented on the obvious college rock influences so far. The Verve Pipe, The Calling, Train to name just a few pop to mind. Have “The King” been released on the other side of the Atlantic, Sam would have been high on the Billboard Contemporary Adult charts. In the UK, still obsessed with the Arctic Monkeys and Oasis’ clones, it will be harder for Sam to find his breakthrough, but 4 thousands streams of the song in just couple of days after the release give me hope that the audience will be able to appreciate it (now the song stands at 16k which is an amazing result!). There is a lot to appreciate here after all – Sam’s voice is smooth and calming (with a note of coarseness so obligatory in the rock genre), the production is very good and the writing is simply excellent.
Some have called the song “simple” but it’s not a bad thing. Writing light, easily recognizable tunes takes much more skill than writing a complicated prog rock mini opera in under 5 minutes. Not every track has to be ornamented, theatrical or overproduced – sometimes the straightforward entertainment is what we really need.
“The King (You and Me) is uplifting and hopeful. A great song for really troubled times.