With a BRIT Award, countless sold out shows (including four Newcastle O2 Academy dates) and legions of fans to his name, Fender’s debut had some mighty high expectations placed upon it. Much to everyone’s relief, ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ passes all of the tests with flying colours.
Along with a host of fan favourites on the track list, there are plenty of insightful new cuts for listeners to sink their teeth into as well.
The North Shields native stands out from his fellow male singer-songwriting contemporaries thanks to his unparalleled lyrical ability. On ‘Hypersonic Missiles’, he sums up the anxieties of a generation and shows off an arsenal of unorthodox influences in the space of just under 50 minutes.
Inspirations ranging from 80s new wave to Bruce Springsteen create moody, hypnotic instrumental backdrops on most of the album tracks. There are even a couple of sax solos thrown in for good measure. Sonically, it’s certainly more interesting to listen to than clichéd acoustic breakup songs that come a dime by the dozen these days.
Sam’s lyrics carry a lot of weight and often deal with newsworthy topics. This is especially evident in some of his previously released singles. ‘Dead Boys’ is a deeply affecting account of the impacts of male suicide. Meanwhile the use of capitalism to remain blissfully unaware of global tensions is explored on ‘Hypersonic Missiles’. Additionally the day to day life in neglected North East towns is highlighted on ‘Leave Fast’.
Parts of ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ tackle modern relationships too. However, much like their more political counterparts, there is a sense of angst and cynicism on the tracks.
Fender opts to play the role of a narrator on ‘Two People’ and ‘Will We Talk’. Both are tales of disappointed bedfellows in disintegrating, nonstarter relationships.
The artist shifts his perspective to first person on ‘Call Me Lover’ but the outlook isn’t much more optimistic as it’s about an unrequited, unavailable lover. It does seem a little out of place as it’s the most ballad-y effort on the album but still a good song nonetheless.