Jim and Sam – Space For The Stranger – EP
While the music is more surreal, sublime & played with a gossamer of melodic fleecy strands it’s the vocals that flicker with Americana despite the synth work on “House on Fire.” The tune is lovely & it’s sparse. Sam’s vocal is pensive in approach yet maintains a stately demeanor.
“Space For the Stranger,” is a simple song with some Jane Siberry facilities spread across the arrangement. However, the performance is admirable. “The stranger” in the song would be their newborn daughter Hazel. And yes, in the beginning, any newborn is a stranger to the household. Excellent choice of a song subject, with a romantic perspective & perfectly rendered.
The L.A.-based husband & wife duo of Jim and Sam have been doing this since 2015 & have created something that isn’t new on the music scene, but they shaped theirs with care, with expressive lyrics & each tune blossoms into a full-bodied song. Space For The Stranger (Drops Sept 30–Nettwerk) is an extended-play (EP) with only 5-cuts & not a full album.
The third track “Rusted Sign,” is even more simple, but the showcase is solid with emotional tonality & low-flame Sinead O’Conner drifting throughout. Sam’s voice always wields sensitivity & most importantly technique.
The acoustic-driven “Harley Davidson” has Sam in nearly a whisper as if she’s singing late at night & the lyric sounds as if it’s a self-reflective narrative, a reminiscence. While “Becoming Ghosts,” is a pleasant upbeat finger-popping melody that shows the duo’s virtuosity. There’s never any showboating, wild soloing, or a cluster of repetitive cliches – it’s a soul-satisfying as introduction to the thematic surprises that each Jim and Sam’s tune provides.
What do they need despite their good past reviews? I would say just add a little more spice to the pot. Give some songs a little muscle. The essential atmospheric approach is penetrating but a stab at something weightier would be good for the pacing of an album’s worth. Even a baseball player throws a curve ball every now & then.
Overall? A likable duo. They don’t try to sound like anyone else & they augment their style with their vividly demonstrated writing. There’s nothing challenging in their repertoire here – but I’m sure down the line there will be. This EP has nothing but fine sensible songs, with womanly tones that are all well-interpreted & packaged with prowess.
Photo by Mike Zwahlen. CD @ https://www.wearejimandsam.com/