We were blessed this week with an early listen to a handful of songs from Damian Sage’s upcoming album – categorically one you won’t want to miss out on. Cold Blood is the first of those – the official single release form the project, and it’s not difficult to see why.
Cold Blood is superb, stylish and gritty, rhythmic and melodic, seeming to take equal levels of influence from folk, blues-rock, country and pop alike. There’s something addictively cool and smooth about the whole thing, the organic set-up lets the musicianship and Sage’s own stunning vocal stand as tall as possible, and among all of this of course is the lyrics.
Cold Blood is as poetic as it is musically satisfying, entrancing you from the offset and sweeping you away on this wave of changing energy – as Sage deals with issues such as depression and addiction in a seductively soulful fashion. A brilliant introduction to the album. Really though, it’s Damian’s voice and his thoughtful, honest way with writing that connects the dots. Musically there’s impressive eclecticism on this project.
As an example, Mission Control is a much more spacious and ambient song, which lays bare Sage’s flawlessly mesmerising vocal as the passionate outburst of emotion and realness that it is. With this fine balance between character and skill, and that softly hypnotic rasp to the voice, this project will hopefully fast-track Damian Sage to his rightful position as a widely appreciated artist. The lyrics throughout are the final piece of the puzzle – they’re provocative, revealing, endearing, and always unquestionably real; often to a heartbreaking degree.
The Hardest Goodbye sees the stylistics evolve again as a piano-led ballad emerges. Simple, short and intimate lines pave the way beautifully towards what is a breath-taking yet comfortingly classic hook. There’s a softness to the delivery here that showcases yet another side to the artist and his creative process. Sensational vocals see the song through to a mighty finish that perfectly encapsulates the painful ache of its subject matter – Sage’s soul screams out on behalf of everyone who can share in this sentiment and this moment.
A worthy hit of blues rock and roll emerges with a grungy undertone for the song Killers. Another personal favourite – long-form verses paint out a clear and compelling story-line, and meanwhile the instrumentation fuses electronic and organic elements in a brilliantly raw fashion. You get a strong sense that a live show is where things would really start to connect all the more intensely.
Leaning towards classic Americana is Lights, a piece loaded with riffs and one that allows the supreme intricacies and personality of Damian’s voice to shine with unmissable brightness. A great melody and a stop-and-start set-up help make this a quickly familiar and widely accessible track.
The final song we were permitted an early listen to is the delectable and atmospheric Memories. This track sees Damian write from a worldly perspective – it seems less personal, but instead, something of an anthem for all of us. The soundscape develops beautifully, rising up from delicacy to immense weight and power. Sage’s voice is impeccable, show-stopping as he follows this same upward route from softness to strength. A huge moment and an undoubtedly striking song that works on so many levels.
The upcoming album is absolutely one the world deserves to hear. An exciting and deeply conscious new artist and writer, with a magnificent presence.