Sam Brookes has created an album that is fantastic to make flapjacks to. I know this because I have done it and it was a perfectly enjoyable experience. Kairos is a pleasing and relaxing record, filled with high quality, easy listening folk songs. A notion of being trapped in the city, pining for the countryside reoccurs throughout Kairos; Brookes’ lyrics reveal to his listener that he has a longing to return to his country roots and is unsettled living in the town. Perhaps coincidentally, the sound of the album supports this feeling of unsettledness by being confused and inconsistent.
The record opens with the not so originally titled Intro, where Sam Brookes’ chorister background becomes immediately obvious. Brookes has a talent for singing falsetto that is hard to ignore, his high pitched vocals are accompanied by a dark and dramatic sound that makes gives the track an essence of church. As the song continues, background singers chime in and the song winds up sounding both hymnal and ethereal alike. As Intro progresses into the next track, Numb, the ethereal theme continues and evolves into a tune that echoes many of James Blake’s latest works. Brookes uses his chorister tones and ponders “where is my love, for I won’t be coming home tonight”.
Ironically enough, the next track to feature on the album James sounds nothing like James Blake, and could in fact be said to be inspired by everyone’s favourite happy hippy Jack Johnson. For the rest of the duration of the album, Brookes’ folky roots shine on through, and the more experimental, arguably ‘towny’ sounds are left behind. Crazy World And You is quite lovely, Sam sings with only an acoustic guitar and some subtle percussion about life “out in the countryside, where it feels like it’s just the crazy world and you” Wholesome eh.
As the record continues, Brookes starts preaching to his singers about the fact he has No Time; he moans about daytime telly and tube stops and being a “child of the country” and while I’m sure there is an audience of city hating, acoustic loving, chaps out there whom will nod their head excitedly shouting “I concur” at their wireless sets when listening to Brookes’ ranting, I have to say I found the whole tirade rather boring. The tunes are good but the steady and stagnant subject matter is unappealing.
Kairos is a pleasant album to listen to; it is brooding at times, and upbeat and feel good at others. The product of a Pledge Music campaign, I am sure Sam Brookes fans and crowdfunders alike will be pleased with the final result of Kairos. Though not a game changer, Brookes’ record is definitely worth a listen to, especially if you are looking for a soundtrack to accompany a baking session.