Sam Sly single review by Vince Leigh
Dreamy guitar paired with an effortless-sounding voice
Palace, the new release for singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sam Sly follows her 2021 debut, Witness.
Originally from the South Coast and now based in Canberra, Sam’s latest features many of the same impressive aspects of her debut—robust melodic components, polished production, and a notable vocal performance—yet reaches for a stylistic difference.
The introductory guitar part—drowsy, isolated, yet decidedly calming—also reveals the blues-tinged pulse of the track; a slow, smoky shuffle-like rhythm that serves the self-assured and seemingly effortlessly powered nuances of Sam’s voice.
From old-school to contemporary
Almost old-school in approach, this intro soon reveals a more contemporary tint, mainly related to the drum parts and sounds. The melodies ride in tandem with the groove, with a pre-chorus opening up Sam’s range and intoning a sweetness that contrasts intriguingly with the enigmatic consequences of the chorus’ recurring line: ‘I’m lost in the palace of my mind.’
Dreamy and delicious *insert chef’s kiss here*
This sentiment befits the dreamy sonic scape augmenting the track, the slow-burn trip via lush layers of vocal, ambient washes and receding tones and effects, all becoming part of a chorus-like resolve at the song’s end.
The arrangement is a concise grouping of elements, with the chorus appearing only twice, though not to the detriment of the track’s overall impact.
An intimate, soulful and intoxicating sound
A word about the chorus and its accented phrase, reinforcing that above-mentioned recurring line: it acts as a kind of dramatic pause, holding the listener ransom for a few milliseconds before letting them fall alongside the trajectory of the remainder of the chorus.
Yes, the unexpected change does seem to add a sense of restraint to the preceding flow.
Still, it’s an ebb that suits the luring opacity of the track, arriving just as Sam’s vocal veers from intimacy to elevated soulfulness (ditto the accompanying soundtrack) all aspiring to the song’s rather grand and intoxicating finale.