Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Album Review: Samantha Fish - Kill Or Be Kind

Samantha Fish
Kill Or Be Kind
*** out of *****

In 2017 Samantha Fish explored two different avenues of her influences as Belle Of The West played with mostly acoustic country/roots/blues and Chills & Fever dove into rocking soul sound. Now her newest release Kill Or Be Kind, moves close to combining all of her varied influences into a thematic sound of her own that pushes into pop territory. 

The trials and tribulations of love are all over Kill Or Be Kind, as Fish worked with a variety of songwriters to move further away from the blues, but her strong playing and singing are still her rock solid foundation.

Tracks like "Try" and the title song prove her electric blues style is still in tact but it is newer sounds like The Beatles pop inspired ballads like "Fair-Weather" and "Dream Girl" which push Fish into a more mainstream sound. "She Don't Live Around Here" and the sultry "Dirty" both keep the electric organs and guitar solos but also successfully tests these same waters. 

A modern groove filters through the opening "Bulletproof" but the track seems to be yearning to be more dangerous. Along with "Watch It Die, both tracks while well written and performed, are understated and constrained by Scott Billington's production. A better pairing is the revved up soul horns and ripping solo on "Love Your Lies". Fish seems to be putting her lyrical stamp on tracks and the sexy "Love Letter" grooves and builds successfully to a rousing climax.

Closer "You Got It Bad" is a good example of Fish mindset on this record. On past albums a burner like this would have been blown out and extended with raging solos but every time it seems ready to explode through her powerful singing or playing it drops back down; the rawness of Fish's style has been tempered for more of a pop polished push on Kill Or Be Kind.

Fish is a blazing live performer who pours everything out onto the stage, her studio work is evolving and while not up to her live playing yet, there are lots of positive takeaways as Kill Or Be Kind is a successful step in her broadening career.
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