Samantha Fish - Kill Or Be Kind: Album Review
Words: Danny Thornton
Friday 20th of September will see the release of Samantha Fish's 6th solo album to date, Kill Or Be Kind and here at Manchester Rocks we are lucky enough to hear the finished article before its official release date - aren't we a lucky bunch! Given the fact this latest album has been produced by Grammy Award winner Scott Billington and mixed by fellow Grammy Award winner Steve Reynolds we are expecting something special! Let's hope Miss Fish delivers...
Genre-Bending is a title often associated with Samantha Fish and this album is a true tour-de-force of the Kansas City native’s incredible versatility. The record showcases the variety and scope of her musical offerings, serving up soul and country one minute, but never shying away from playing the guitar heavy blues rock that we love her for.
Opening track Bulletproof is a real highlight featuring some great Mississippi/rootsy vibes on a dirty overdriven Cigar Box Guitar. The guitar solo on the track is truly fantastic and Samantha's soft sensual vocals in the verses are a perfect contrast to the musical arrangements. It is immediately followed by another stand out track (and the song which gives the album its title) Kill Or Be Kind which is a true divergence from the previous track. The song evokes comparisons to Amy Winehouse with more of a big band sound aka the tasty brass playing, accompanied by Samantha's signature soulful vocal stylings.
The contrast in musical stylings between the first two tracks gives the listener a good idea that we are going to be taken on a journey through a myriad of genres. Fair-Weather presents us with a slow breakup song which is far more "pop esc" while the classy "She Dont Live Around Here" which was co-written by Oklahoma's very own Parker Millsap is quite cinematic sounding and full of melancholy.
Samantha Fish was quoted as saying that "My Mission with this album is to really set these songs up so that they have a life of their own" and she manages to accomplish this as the vast majority of the songs are interesting and from the heart with stories that draw the listener in. Soul, Country, Americana, Southern, Blues, Rock and even some Punky vibes (Love Your Lies) this album truly has something for everybody. Arguably the most impressive feat of the album in my opinion however is the fact that even through all this genre twisting and turning Samantha Fish and Co manage to maintain their own unique sonic identity. It doesn't matter which track on the album you pick it is still distinctively "Samantha Fish" Impressive stuff indeed.
Having said that, if I could change one thing about the album it would be to have more of the raw dirty, rootsy blues rock stompers that Samantha is so good at. While the breadth of the album is truly impressive I was left wanting slightly more tracks like Bulletproof and Single Let it die but let's face it after 6 albums I think Miss Fish has earned the right to experiment as much as she likes.
Having being lucky enough to catch Samantha Fish during her last show at Manchester's Band on the Wall I can honestly say I am looking forward to hearing these tracks performed in front of a live audience; and given Samantha's impressive work ethic hopefully we won't have long to wait!
Watch the video for the single Bulletproof: