Sam Cohen - The Future's Still Ringing In My Ears - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Sam Cohen - The Future's Still Ringing In My Ears

by James Weiskittel Rating:6 Release Date:2019-05-17
Sam Cohen - The Future's Still Ringing In My Ears
Sam Cohen - The Future's Still Ringing In My Ears

One part personal catharsis, one part global warming rally cry, Sam Cohen’s latest release, The Future’s Still Ringing In My Ears, finds the singer/songwriter in full-on experimental mode. Co-produced by Danger Mouse, the former-Yellowbirds frontman veers away from his indie-rock roots and dives head-first into the world of retro-drums and synths.

Cohen’s 2015 solo debut Cool It was a throw-back, psychedelic-tinged, ‘70s-inspired affair that immediately conjured up images of bellbottoms and shag carpet. By comparison, The Future’s Still Ringing In My Ears is infused with a more ‘modern’ touch. Danger Mouse and Cohen throw a ton of ideas thrown against the wall over the course of the album’s eleven tracks, and for the most part, those ideas stick.

Evolving from a swampy, synth-driven collage into an Oasis-esque mid-tempo rocker (complete with a fuzz-drenched, harmonized solo), the album-opening “I Can’t Lose” is the perfect precursor for what is to come. Next up, Cohen channels his best inner-Dylan for the single “Something’s Got a Hold On Me” while the backbeat-driven “Man On Fire” shows off Cohen’s ever-tasteful lead playing.

At this point, the sonic blueprint for the rest of the record is pretty much laid out in these first three tracks. Be it the dry drum work underscoring “Invisible Song,” the chiming piano of “Deafening Silence,” or the vintage guitar tones interwoven throughout “Dead Rider," Danger Mouse’s fingerprints are all over The Future’s Still Ringing In My Ears.

While much of the record’s lyrical content seems focused on the ever-present chaos of modern politics, there are a handful of more intimate moments that really shine a light on Cohen’s abilities as both a vocalist and storyteller. The album’s centerpiece “Let the Sun Come Through” finds Cohen admitting “don’t you know that every part of me is a puzzle” over one of the album’s more interesting arrangements.

The Future’s Still Ringing In My Ears has its fair share of indie-rock moments, but make no mistake, this is an unabashed retro-pop album through and through. Danger Mouse and Cohen succeed in giving the singer's retro-rock vibe a makeover while not totally abandoning the psychedelic core that marked his debut. While the record might be a bit lean when it comes to memorable moments, when taken as a whole, The Future’s Still Ringing In My Ears represents Sam Cohen’s most cohesive effort yet.

 

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