The Welsh-born, Leeds-based Sam Airey has certainly started to turn heads as of late, supporting the likes of Willy Mason, Anais Mitchell, Lucy Rose and more, as well as featuring regularly on BBC Radio 1, 2, 6 Music and even Channel 4. His single The Blackout was given the prestigious award of BBC Wales’ Song of the Year, and all this has been achieved in less than twelve months. So when Sam Airey announced that he was recording and releasing a brand new EP (available March 26th), we had high expectations. And low and behold, A Marker And A Map has met those expectations and more.
The record opens with the single The Unlocking – starting with slowly plucked acoustics and Airey’s unique, deep and husky voice, before being accompanied by rolling cymbals and strings that lead to a highly atmospheric crescendo. His lyrics illustrate his want and desire to move on, perhaps from a lost love, perhaps from something more deep and personal. His delivery however is certainly powerful and driven, and represents the weight being lifted from his shoulders and allowing Airey to add a little more punch to the following tracks.
The Window is a beautiful little folky number, with a gloriously catchy melody and, though tainted with regret and uncertainty, shows signs of a more hopeful and light-hearted subject. The same can also be said for To All The Pieces Of Puzzle – though laced with a possible dissatisfaction with his past, Airey is keen to look to the future, putting aside any regrets he may have had and admit that, though he is ‘still not home’, he is ready to accept that life is a journey full of lessons still to be learnt. Furthermore, this third track on the record highlights Sam’s extraordinary musical talents, blending simple rhyming vocals with what sounds like a highly complicated instrumental, which he of course delivers effortlessly.
The final track, Floodgates, brings together the mix of themes and emotions that run throughout the EP – from doubt and anxiety, to reassurance and an eagerness to travel the path in front of him. Moreover, it is a stunningly arranged track, that blends Airey’s talented guitar skills with flowing strings, beating drums and a beautiful chant to end the EP with a smile.
Whether the title A Marker And A Map alludes to a journey musically, personally or something greater, Airey has certainly made steps towards becoming one of the stand-out artists of 2012 already. With a unique voice and a quality of songwriting and musicianship that matches if not stands above many of his singer-songwriter contemporaries, he has found a maturity in his music that is well beyond his years and, despite the EP being 4 tracks long, has set a precedent for a magnificent and highly successful future.
Sam Airey will be joining TFFT for our next Live Night, which takes place 0n April 23rd at The Castle, Manchester. For more information and ticket details, head to We Got Tickets