The State of Samuel

The State of Samuel

The State of Samuel

Here Come the Floods


With over-orchestrated acts like Sufjan Stevens and The Decemberists still ranking high with tastemakers, it’s easy to forget pop music can still rule when it’s just guitar, bass, and drums. The State of Samuel’s Here Come the Floods is a fine reminder of this fact. Samuel Petersson’s songbook pays a continuous ode to the messier side of ’90s/’00s rock — the eternal pop/punk four chord progression on the bass introducing “Slow Day For the UFOs” is a prime example — you’ve heard it before in countless songs but it still feels fresh. Petersson’s strength is in his simplicity and his ability to join ridiculously catchy vocal melodies with an unpolished, charming musicality. It’s a combination that rings true on a much more human scale than the ballroom scope of some of his contemporaries’ grandiosity. And while his surrealistic lyrics are good, Petersson even gets more mileage and emotional evocation out of “ahhs” and “ba-bas” than his more erudite, scholarly competition. His music, though, is designed for cutting loose rather than holding up under lit critic evaluation.

Particular highlights and signifiers that this band is ready to join the ranks of careening indie pop, alongside greats like Saturday Looks Good to Me and Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, are “Always Under the Gun” (on which SLGTM’s Betty Marie Barnes provides vocal harmony perfection) and the fizzy Pavement-style dance number “Square Roots.”

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