Samsa - To Conquer

Bill Cummings 21/05/2007

Rating: 2/5

Samsa are yet another three piece band of guitar wielding hopefuls to emerge from the music scene in Leeds. Judging by the amount of material we receive from “New Yorkshire” A+R men must be foraging in every dirty crevice of that fair city since the arrival of The Kaiser Chiefs et al. Samsa trade in the kind of building emotional alternative rock dynamics that served My Vitriol's debut album “Fine Lines” so well, although they're not quite in that league. A-Side “To Conquer's” tightly wound verses are built up into some vaguely urgent crunching waves of distortion above which singer (frontman name) earnestly emotes for all his worth. The problem is, it's a formula we've heard many times before and whilst the press release assures us that Samsa produce “great melodies and explosive musical catharsis,” but I cant help but think that this is nothing new, in fact it's just about average. Try as (frontman name) might, the vocals aren't anything special either, it's the kind of affected, Americanised disenchantment that sounds more like someone's nicked his last crisp, than trampled on his heart: it's the kind of track that exists in a world of mediocrity, the kind of forgettable single that gets tossed onto an XFM play list simply because its “new.”

That's not to say the band don't have some promise. B-Side “Another Night” is probably the most successful of the two tracks here, its brooding vocals and weary, spindly Bloc Party-esque guitar notes do open out into loud widescreen tumbling licks in the second half. The rhythm section allows more breathing space, allowing the vocalists to produce some more believable quivering melancholia. One can imagine it as the soundtrack to a weary walk home from the pub after having an argument with your girlfriend. It's certainly a step up from “To Conquer” but then again it's not the “greatness” or the “explosiveness” we were promised. Samsa then, another band to add to the massive pile marked “could, nay should do better!”