Currently sitting at number one in the ‘UK Official Chart’, Sam Fender’s debut album Hypersonic Missiles certainly deserves the spot, with songs capable of resonating with everyone. The singer’s voice resembles the emotive rushes of The Killers’ frontman Brandon Flowers, mixed with the eeriness of Jeff Buckley - who is said to have had a great influence over him on depicting the ‘delicate’ side of rock music. The album tackles subjects such as politics, suicide and poverty, all coming from different aspects of Fender’s life and his personal experiences growing up in the North East of England.
Fender has stated that the turning point in his career was when he became ‘selfish’ and started writing songs that matter to him, not to the people he was trying to impress, and this is what sets him apart. He is not just another guy with a guitar, pining over a girl or singing about break-ups.
The title track ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ could be argued as being a true reflection of the world today, with the increasing tensions in country-to-country relations, lack of support for the government and the class distinction, all of it with people being still ‘blissfully unaware’. ‘Dead Boys’, on the other hand, is more personal, as Fender has stated. Written after the passing of his close friends, it also brings to light awareness of mental health and suicide among the male community, which are two topics that are not so openly discussed within society. Although this album may be labelled as rock, there are some ballads weaved in between, with the frequent appearance of the saxophone to complement the bass sounds. ‘Call Me Lover’ strays away from the rock vibes of the album, emulating a Hozier-esque soulful track. It wouldn’t be a true review if one of the biggest themes of the album wasn’t discussed: the great reflection of Fender’s life in North Shields. Being often described as a poverty-stricken town, a recurring theme throughout the record is that white privilege is sometimes misunderstood - ‘Just because you are white does not mean you are privileged’, with most of those in poverty in the North East being white. His songs depict everyday life for people of the area, giving them a voice and shining light on aspects that are sometimes overlooked.
Sam Fender has certainly produced a dynamic album which everyone could relate to in one way or another. The electricity of the album is rebelliously what sets him apart from some of the music of today; no matter how heavy the subject of the track is, Sam Fender makes it into an easy listen.