Samantha Crain is regularly mistaken for a 16 year old and treated accordingly. ‘It gives me a great insight into people’s character’ Crain says, ‘and plenty of material as a songwriter’. So much confusion has it caused over the years that Crain herself has named her latest LP ‘Kid Face’ in reference to those moments of awkwardness. However, such mistakes are forgivable when this talented young lady (who is actually 27) is able to produce material of this maturity and if confirmation were ever needed as to her song writing skills she was also picked by Rolling Stone Magazine as their “Must See Act” at SXSW – in Austin, Texas 2013
The Oklahoma artist’s new album ‘Kid Face’ was released last week in Europe (via Full Time Hobby). The album is the first of Crain’s three (if you include the release with the Midnight Shivers) to be given this global release, after it was introduced to the US record buying public back in early 2013 (via Ramseur Records in North America). Produced by John Vanderslice (The Mountain Goats & Spoon) the album contains eleven tracks that showcase the artist’s achingly beautiful voice and her ability to write simple but memorable and melodic songs.
There is a sombre mood to the proceedings on this release but that should not take anything away from the clever story-telling and wonderful production. Vanderslice has managed to bring out elements of actual pain in Crain’s dark voice and has tied this is in perfectly with her incredible guitar performances throughout. The despair and the sorrow of the vocals in ‘Paint’, set alongside the acoustic guitar is a wonderful example of the emotion the producer has managed to instil into the artists performance.
‘For the Miner’ is more graceful and offers the audience the opportunity to experience not only Crain’s voice but also a simple, melodic tune with a base guitar that seems to pull the track together. From a production level it feels like the most complete song on the album while still retaining that effortless quality that exists throughout. ‘Sand Paintings’ also excels. Its wonderful sultry feel is a welcomed distraction from some of the more lower-tempo tracks and also feels like the song that would make it onto most radio play-lists. It’s wonderful.
The album does creek in places though. It’s set to a pace that continues almost from start to finish (with ‘Sand Paintings’ being the exception) and you begin to wish for a higher tempo or more complicated instrumentation but I guess that’s not what this release is about. It’s an extremely personal creation for the artist and sits well within its genre. While it contains tunes of some beauty, for me, it doesn’t contain the longevity of 2010’s ‘You (Understood)’.
The full track-listing for ‘Kid Face’ is as follows…