by Emma Kelsall
Life was never easy for Sam Fender. It was at age 10, growing up on a council estate in North Shields, Northumberland, that Fender developed an interest in music, mesmerised by the works of Bruce Springsteen. Fifteen years down the line, after battling financial troubles and a long-term illness, the passionate indie rock artist released his stunning debut album, Hypersonic Missiles.
The album opens with the titular track “Hypersonic Missiles,” a song as insanely catchy as it is well written. Fender experiments with a range of instruments, from trumpets to guitars, to perfectly marry undertones of jazz with a rock-like riff. What is particularly stunning about this tune, like so many of Fender’s songs, is the lyrics. Fender outlines a range of issues, often overlooked in today’s society, such as media censorship (“I am so blissfully unaware of everything/ Kids in Gaza are bombed, and I’m just out of it”) and elitism (“You can join their club if you’re born into money”).
The debut continues with “The Borders,” exuding the electric vibes of eighties rock. Upbeat, energetic and thoughtful, “The Borders” is sure to bring a sense of rebellion to listeners, as Fender himself claims it is his favourite track on the album.
However, one of Fender’s strengths is versatility, shown through his beautiful performance of the moodier “That Sound.” Perhaps the best thing about this track is the heavy, echoey opening, almost reminiscent of The Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now?” Fender’s voice perfectly cuts the gloomy melody, making for a certain hit. Overall, Hypersonic Missiles is thoughtful, eclectic and well-executed, having already won Fender a BRIT Award for Critics’ Choice and the adoration of the public. Fans of the rebellious likes of Springsteen and the upcoming British indie scene would adore this gem of an album. I would rate this album 4/5, as it marks a strong beginning for an incredible new artist and cannot wait to see what Fender has in store for us next.