Sam Sherwin- Iodine Cocktails

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Saturday, August 25, 2012

Singer/guitarist Sam Sherwin has been a part of the NYC music scene for quite some time, but over the past few years he has started to break out as a solo artist. Sherwin has assembled a crew of musicians and vocalists to support his effort, and as a result his sophomore album Iodine Cocktails often sounds like the work of a full-time band rather than a solo effort. There’s a nice mix of genres ranging from power pop to blues and soul, and if you’re any in any of these styles this disc is worth checking out.

While the lineup varies slightly on every song, Iodine Cocktails feels like a cohesive album. The songs flow well from one to the other, and it feels as though the instrumentalists have great chemistry. Stylistically Iodine Cocktails is highly varied and takes influence from Americana, blues, power pop and even some traditional rock ‘n roll, making each moment feel fairly different from the last. Sam Sherwin seems to favor slightly slower paced numbers with the occasional up-tempo one, which allows the melodies time to sink in and grab listeners. Admittedly a few of the softer numbers do follow a similar pattern and don’t have as many stand out moments as the ones where the instrumentation really kicks up a notch. But a few okay songs mixed in with some memorable ones doesn’t hold the album back that much, as the release as a whole feels well developed and has the hooks needed to keep people coming back.

Catchy instrumentals can only go so far, as the full strength of a solo album often depends on the capabilities of the singer. Sam Sherwin has the right kind of voice for the style of music that he is performing, as he has a lower pitch that is fairly laid back but has just the right amount of swagger for the up-tempo moments. He has surrounded himself with some backup female vocalists which provides more depth to the songs they appear on and adds to the soul vibe that is present. But even when Sherwin takes the helm and is the only vocalist on a song, his singing is able to carry the material thanks to its laid back and slightly gravelly sound.

There are a lot of musicians that try to go the singer/songwriter route but Sam Sherwin pulls it off nicely. He has a pleasant voice and songs with catchy hooks, and it seems as though the musicians he has chosen to play with are able to flesh out the arrangements nicely. Despite a few tracks that drag, Iodine Cocktails is still an effort that feels like it has had plenty of time and attention put into it and because of this it deserves the same from listeners.

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