Sam Roberts - Love at the End of the World

2009-01-12 13:54
Love at the End of the World
"What is the point of all this? This screwed up system? This relationship?" Sam Roberts seems to ask. He calmly disses "stripmall religion", and all things manufactured. Quietly, professionally alternative, though his songs tick along perfectly to your accelerator pedal as you try to escape it all.

Sam Roberts seems like one of those Americans (as in the continent, not the country, he's Canadian) who's uncomfortable with the state of the world order, with his relationships, with celebrity, on a very personal level. He's that guy at a house party who'll just wait in the corner until you bother him. Which would be worthwhile doing.

Because Love at the End of the World is definitely the kind of album that means more the more you play it, with gems that stick in your head, like the blithely Dylanesque "Fixed to Ruin", about a girl who dances "like she got no bones", and the heady title track's celebration of a moment of spiritual (or romantic) redemption. Sam's not trendy, particularly when he complains about the kids not knowing how to dance to rock 'n roll anymore (this annoying song was a radio hit), or indulges a romantic never-lived life on "Detroit". Sam sums it up on "Sundance" - "Even the Sundance Kid would find it hard / to shoot his way out / of this hole I'm in." He can't change the world, and he knows it, but the status quo still really bugs him. A lot.

With it's radio-friendly country-pop rhythms and it's un-radio-friendly sentiments, this album's easy to miss, and probably won't get noticed in South Africa, although everything Sam's done has been a hit in Canada. It’s a pity, because personal protest doesn't get much more digestible or likeable than this.

Women who dance like they got no bones, strip mall religion, and redemption songs... but will Sam Roberts make you listen?

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