Newtown in the early hours of the morning, beer in your belly, the streets are damp, the air is cold and you’re all alone. This is right about where you’ll find Andrew Samuel’s Hissing Bitterness playing through your earphones.
There’s something brave in Samuel’s new EP, a clean use of two chords and stark vocals in each track to remind you of those moments you had to be properly honest with yourself.
Co-produced by Andrew Samuel and Phantastic Ferniture’s Ryan Brennan, Hissing Bitterness was born in the hallways of Samuel’s share house. Vocals were recorded in his bedroom with only small adjustments being made in the studio.
It was an untypical process that has produced an untypical sound, but a sound that seeps under your skin to those vulnerable parts.
The Sydney based folk singer-songwriter has transitioned from his earlier release this year, Mediocre, a track with faster movement, to an EP that stands still in reflection.
You can see the journey of a human being from the plague of frustration to just letting go and looking out the window instead. The echoing guitar sound, and lines like, ‘Funny I don’t care now, but I still feel blue’ bleed out this cool imagery of exhaling, the way it relaxes, focuses and keeps us going.
“For most this will be a painful, or at least tedious listening experience,” says Samuel about his stormy new sound. But on my fourth listening, this pain begins to melt away, there’s a new colour in the chords I hadn’t noticed before. Stories of tiredness, loneliness and sadness begin to cathartically mend the soul and lift the spirit.
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The track, Sitting Here With Nothing Owing, compels you to remember moments of pure happiness that you can’t get back. Moments so perfect we wish they never happened, but then you hear, ‘I think of the years to come, and wishing I was here again, making mistakes’ and you rejoice that you had those moments at all.
Hissing Bitterness is how we cling to a bad past until is makes us numb. Yet its simplicity articulates this sort of abstract hope that overcomes the bitterness. Samuel is a testament to the purity of a man and his guitar, spilling secrets, revealing truths. He keeps it raw and natural and incredibly good for you.
Andrew Samuel will be touring the east coast of Australia from 25th August to 4th September.