Samm Henshaw’s debut album begins with a skit called “Still No Album”. It’s a humorous intro announcing the album’s grand arrival. After keeping fans waiting for years, he finally delivers. Here’s the deal though: It was entirely worth the wait.
Untidy Soul is a sprawling disc full of retro horns and smooth vocals from the London singer songwriter. Henshaw first made his name with a pair of EP’s under the name of The Sound Experiment and The Sound Experiment 2 in 2015 and 2016. He toured with Chance the Rapper and Allen Stone and released a handful of before finally delivering his debut.
“Thoughts and Prayers” begins with similar horns that you’d find on his former tourmate Chance the Rapper’s “Sunday Candy”. The delicate vocal and light trumpet with subtle gospel vocals is a great bright intro to a record that is packed with so many rays of light. “Grow” sounds like a slice of Early Kanye West with more gospel choruses piled with sped up samples. It’s a blast from the past that somehow feels new in 2022.
“Chicken Wings” is undeniably catchy - what else would you assume when there’s a song about chicken wings? Zooming in - it’s really inspired by a relationship but there’s something euphoric about hearing a song about this particular topic with a triumphant horn section.
That said the album shifts gears at times, like the easy slide of the relationship “Take Time” where Tobe Nwigwe drops in for a show stopping spoken word verse, or the drifting synths of “East Detroit”. “Loved By You,” if not the mention of an ‘Uber Driver’ would firmly be mistaken in the pantheon of classic 70’s soul ballads.
Ultimately, Untidy Soul is a record that sounds like a whole lot of joy. It’s safe to assume that waiting this long to put out an album was no accident for Samm Henshaw, but that in the course of it he managed to make it sound fun. It’s just that - an enormous amount of fun. Listen to it all summer long or any time you need that extra oomph. It’s sonic Vitamin D.
- Brendan Hilliard, Obviate Media
Listen to Untidy Soul