Fender Releases an Album for a Generation
It took Sam Fender no less than six years to create, curate and unleash debut album ‘Hypersonic Missiles’, and you can hear every hard-working second.
We’re in an odd, frustrating day and age where things need to be said and we’re not sure how to say them. We’ve never been promised more, and we’re being impressed by less and less. In ‘Poundshop Kardashians’, Fender croons his way through concerns of the consumer generation not seeing things clearly. ‘We idolise idiots on the front page of the Mail’ – Sam’s got a lot to say, and he’s decorated his message with cohesive electric guitar music to master that pure, home grown sound.
There’s a fine line between preaching to the converted and expressing genuine concern – and making it sound quite this good. ‘Saturday’ shows off a sneaky, sultry falsetto and it’s a welcome break in amongst a lot of heavy issues. Fender’s in his mid-twenties and yeah, he’s tackling climate change and toxic masculinity but no one can argue the lad doesn’t deserve a pint.
Hypersonic Missiles isn’t crying for help and it’s not re-hashing an outdated message. If anything, Fender’s narrative is more self critical than just shaking a fist at capitalism or ‘the man.’ Break out singles ‘Dead Boys’ and ‘Spice’ channel that trademark indie rock sound we’ve come to know and adore. As a body of work, the record has managed to stay true to a real ‘we started this band in our garage, and now we’re Brit Award winners’ tune – and it just makes it all the more endearing.
It’s been mentioned maybe once or twice that Sam sounds a bit like Bruce Springsteen. That’s undeniable on saxxy gem ‘You’re Not The Only One.’ There’s nostalgia here, and Sam’s love language stems from knowing right from wrong and trying to make a gateway for the latter.
Slow burner ‘Two People’ speaks a love language of channelling change in what seems to be a never-ending system. Sam’s generation has been born into bad practices, and the small towns he’s used to keep perpetuating the same circumstances he’s fought so hard to break out of.
Is Hypersonic Missiles perfect? Maybe not quite yet. This was an ambitious record for a musician from such humble beginnings, and it can be excused if the worst thing about it is producing an artist who actually sounds like a human being. Sam Fender maybe trips over his own feet in his track order, but wouldn’t you if you were changing the industry the way he is?
To be judged as a debut, the Geordie wonder boy has outdone himself.
Words by Lauren Dodd