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Rock music has rarely sounded as bittersweet and contradictory as when it’s in the hands of Sam Lambeth.
Something of an underground figurehead (Lambeth has spent years reviewing bands, putting on gigs, performing DJ sets and, of course, gigging in numerous groups), he has an unwavering ability to match up-tempo, sun-kissed tunes with more wistful, contemplative lyrics. The words make you remember, the music makes you forget. With Quinn’s second EP, Crush, Lambeth has got the measurements just right.
2016 was a great year for both Lambeth and Quinn. The band raised £300 for Teenage Cancer Trust with their debut EP, Seems Fine, which led to support slots with We Are Scientists, Evan Dando, Johnny Lloyd, INHEAVEN and Teleman, as well as radio play and solid reviews. To kickstart his songwriting for EP number two, Lambeth went for runs around his old neighbourhood, and from there the themes of Crush began to form.
“I went running around the stomping grounds of the adolescent me,” Lambeth said. “It was crazy how different everything was, and yet it was the same. As I ran past all these personal landmarks, so many memories ran through my mind – the what ifs, the could-have-beens, the paths I didn’t take…all of these formed the basis of Crush.”
The result is a record that is lyrically filled with the push and pull of growing up, looking back on your younger self with the benefit of hindsight and wisdom, and feeling both gratitude and regret. This nostalgic bent doesn’t just stop at the lyrics, though – the music in Crush is made for bygone summers. You can feel the warmth of the sun beat down through the power-pop strums of ‘I Wasted It’ and ‘Williamsburg’, while ‘Summer’s Gone’ and ‘Amanda Knocks’ are two of Lambeth’s sweetest, and saddest, songs, taking his everlasting love for the likes of Teenage Fanclub and The Lemonheads and buffing them to a summer sheen. ‘Amanda Knocks’ also received airplay on BBC Radio 1 on 19/6.
“I called the record Crush because, not wishing to sound too emo, when you have one, you’ll go through every emotion, and not all of them are good,” Lambeth says. “This record has that coming-of-age feel, and having to make peace with your past and let old things – lovers, friends, opportunities, moments – go.”
With its bear-hug guitars, summery harmonies and jangly riffs, Crush is more than just a fleeting romance. “Nostalgia is a compelling liar,” Lambeth says, “but revisiting my adolescence has hopefully made songs people can connect to.”