Having released a relatively successful string of EPs and full-length studio efforts, Quebec-based rocker Sam Roberts recently dropped Lo-Fantasy, his fifth album overall, and second since adopting the moniker Sam Roberts Band in 2011. With catchy hooks, brilliant guitar riffs, and sing-along choruses, this album doesn’t stray far from his previous works; there is certainly plenty to enjoy.
However, as the album progresses, the music does not. The formula for the songs is generic; musically, it is limited, and there is no striking vocal performance on any of the tracks.
While fitting with his artistic and musical style, this album grows old—and it does so quickly. Opening songs “Shapeshifters” and “We’re All In This Together” put everything on the table right away and essentially preview the entire album: catchy, predicatble, and enjoyable. It is a well-made album, with the well-refined production on each track; but there is nothing that vies for attention—nothing that stands out. Think of a muted Edward Sharpe with more guitar and not nearly as many crowd-pleasers.
This album is not a bad one; still, it’s so nondescript and middle-of-the-road that it comes across as more disappointing than it actually is. There is nothing wrong with it…there’s just nothing great about it—and that’s a shame, because the last song, “Golden Hour,” hints at a more powerful and interesting sound that could have been.
Lo-Fantasy isn’t necessarily worth listening to, nor is it an album to be avoided; it is just so remarkably unremarkable that it really won’t alter anyone’s perception of the artist, the music, or anything else for that matter.