Samtar – The Curse of Infinite Luminosity
Release Date: 08/01/2021
Running Time: 42:43
Review by Steven Hooke
For an artist to label themselves as “experimental” can usually be considered something of a red flag, owing to the unpredictable nature of the potential sound. System of a Down have branded themselves “experimental” for years, but then again, so has Igorrr, yet they operate on very different ends of the spectrum. Samtar is a wacky mononymous experiment rock project hailing from Madison, Wisconsin, that sits more comfortably towards the realms of SOAD, blending catchy and crying alt rock with prog, pop, funk, hip hop and jazz. The level of “oh that reminds me of…” extends from R.E.M. all the way down to Pertubator.
It starts off well, the light and breezy R.E.M. vibes coming on strong and proud on the appropriately named opener ‘End Of The World’, with the jaunty, crisp guitar shuffles interrupted with twinkling atmospheric electronics. We hear Samtar’s impressive Serj Tankian-esque vocal rise and fall as the song progresses, eventually continuing into ‘Wizard Of The Mountains’, a comparatively minimalist track, but one full of vocal power, as Samtar unleashes a beautiful, cinematic torrent of vocal notes, backed by delicate plinks of guitars and the rumbling of drums.
There is a bit of a small mid-album dip, where there is a tepid feeling of “ordinary”, but the album is quickly saved by the surge of ‘One Is Too Many’ all the way into the closer ‘Island Of Eyes’. Genres, styles and ideas ricochet the listener from one point to another, drawing inspirations from Pearl Jam, hip hop, dark synth rock, Octaves and Tankian’s post-SOAD solo material. ‘The Science Of Irreversible Perception’ in particular sticking out, combining the energy of the recently revived synthwave movement with looming doom rock.
This all serves as a testament to Samtar, the young musician is only two albums into his career and manages to combine musical directions in such a way that it doesn’t sound clunky or discordant, but still largely remains in the same space thematically. It is at times criminally catchy, and combined with its willingness to have such a broad tonal range feels like it has taken more than a few cues from Faith No More.
‘Wizard Of The Mountains (Official Video)
01. End Of The World
02. Shedding The Last Bit
03. Wizard Of The Mountains
04. The Curse Of Infinite Luminosity
06. Life Is A Party
07. One Is Too Many
09. The Science Of Irreversible Perception
10. Waiting To Di
11. Island Of Eyes
Samtar – Everything
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