Commencing with a captivating piano which takes me back to the swashed soft metal surge of eighty-seven, and Heart’s Alone, I’ve Sam Bishop’s new single “Cry for Help” rolling. Sam hasn’t the big hair for soft metal, neither was around to swagger in the school disco, slurping the drunkest floosy to this endearing power-ballad finale, praying the teacher doesn’t notice the bottle of Cinzano hanging from his back pocket. This meagre comparison stops at the opening, it doesn’t explode with wailing guitar, no hairband needed. Suffice it to say though, this release of passion has a similar craving in its narrative, and the comparison itself perhaps just an excuse to relive my school disco days!
The heartache of saying goodbye to a summer romance is a theme used before in Sam’s songs, particularly in his duo Larkin, though Sam claims this to be “the most heartfelt and vulnerable song I’ve ever penned.” In line with this, skip a decade to the boybands of the nineties, and you have yourself a more justified assessment, yet lyrically is one of Sam’s best to date.
Talking of goodbyes, it’s a shame to hear Larkin’s gig last Saturday at the Pilot was the last for some foreseeable time. Sam and Finley announced this week they’ve a “multitude of other projects and focuses that means keeping the band going at the minute is something of a struggle.” While Fin is enjoying local gigs as one-half of his family duo, The Truzzy Boys, Sam is studying music at college and exploring and pushing the confines of his talent as recorded music.
We spoke to Sam exclusively on the dawn of his previous single, A Thousand Times, in which I described it as, “a breezy indie-pop affair, dour and atmospheric with that theme of heartbroken youth so apt for Sam’s hauntingly distinctive vocals.” Cry for Help is similar in said atmosphere, even theme, however reigns more pop ballad than perhaps indie. I wonder if it’s harking back to 98 Reasons, his school boyband days, adding maturity but aiming for emotive commercial pop. Given the choice, I’d favour A Thousand Times, but I appreciate I’m not within the target audience of this new single, and if I cringe at pop mush overkilled on Heart FM, this single has much more clout than the archetype.
Upon hearing this, I consider many teenagers swaying to it at an under-18 holiday camp, saddened by the parting of weeklong friendship made, and fading memories of a sugar-coated snog behind the laundrette block. Yet without the cliché of Careless Whisper, without the slush of Wet Wet Wet, Sam, I reckon has made a brave and bold attempt to cross this border, a genre which sells like a bucketload of hot cakes.
Cry For Help by Sam Bishop is out this Friday, 13th September.
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