Album Review: Sam Fender – Hypersonic Missiles

Sam Fender – Hypersonic Missiles

Words: Sammy Sadler

FINALLY what the Popped team have been waiting for, and pretty much fangirling over, is here! Sam Fender has graced the world of music with his debut LP Hypersonic Missiles and if you haven’t listened to it already, stop what you’re doing right now, cast your eyes over this review and listen. Because I’m telling you now, you absolutely won’t regret it.

I’ve been championing wor Sam ever since we started featuring him on Popped Music which feels like forever ago now. His brooding vocals and hypnotising soundscapes were enough to have us all swooning and it’s been a very exciting journey to watch him grow into the style he has crafted into his own nowadays.

I listen to new albums all the time, it’s par for the course being the assistant editor for a music website and it’s fucking fantastic, but every now and again you’ll get an album that you’re really looking forward to even though you aren’t entirely sure what to expect. From the first listen of Hypersonic Missiles I was pretty speechless. It was even more stunning than I’d expected and I hit the repeat button straight away whilst furiously tweeting everyone should just listen to it right now. From those very first three songs, Fender’s pleading lyrics and unmistakable similarities to the king Bruce Springsteen hit me right in the feels. I had a lump in my throat and it was as though I’d been punched in the chest – the raw passion and urgency that radiates from title track Hypersonic Missiles, The Borders and White Privilege had me obsessed as I half sang, half screeched, each word.

I could probably waffle on all day about how and why I think this is one of the best albums of 2019 and how I think that’ll still be the case at the end of this year. But instead, I’ll give you my highlights from the album.

Kicking off the LP is title track Hypersonic Missiles which I jumped on reviewing when it was released back in March. The first real glimpse into Fender’s similarities to Bruce Springsteen, Hypersonic Missiles has everything from that building instrumental to the eruption of riffs in each chorus that exhibits serious anthemic vibes. An introduction of a sax tops everything off perfectly and you’re transported to early Springsteen days – I’m looking at you Born To Run.

Next up to be that absolutely has to be mentioned is The Borders which brings in even more Springsteen influences to the mix with energetic, almost 70s disco, beats as it boasts a more vintage feel than the other tracks in the album. This is the one that probably hit me in the feels the most – the desperation in Fender’s voice as he cries out each lyric feels almost personal and another saxophone introduction obviously has me hooked. At a whopping 5m 35 seconds it’s considerably longer than previous singles we’ve heard from Fender and it works so well. Honestly, listen to this and try to not get goosebumps because I’m a wreck right now.

White Privilege is the one that I was dubious of following the first listen. It wasn’t what I was used to hearing Fender perform live and was I really ok with that? Well it turns out, I really am. The political and social awareness in White Privilege is something we all should be listening to. In all honesty, they could have done anything to this song and I’d have implored you all to pay attention to it – yes it might not appear to showcase that same anger you see when Fender performs it live but it’s still just as haunting.

Naturally I was thrilled to see Dead Boys, Play God, That Sound and Leave Fast had made the list to nod towards the sound from Fender we were first introduced to and my latest obsession Will We Talk? had me going wilder than a hen party in Flares. I mean, who doesn’t want something they can dance around to and I already know that it’s certain to sound epic live with that dazzling instrumental.

Two People, Saturday and Call Me Lover again all have another dimension to them – they are much slower in terms of the musical soundscape and edge onto a more softer atmosphere but with the combination of Fender’s intricate lyrical choices into gorgeous backdrops, they won me over quite quickly.

All in all, a pretty incredible album that’ll have us Toon lot blabbing about for ages. The obvious three dimensions to Hypersonic Missiles keeps it exciting and I’ll be listening to it for months to come. If you haven’t listened yet, you can do so below because we’re canny like that at Popped. Get prepared to fall in love.

Listen to Hypersonic Missiles below:

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