Published Mar 06, 2019It says something about Sam Boer's creative process that — upon going through his family's cassette and video archives — his impulse was to use what he gathered to create an album. Under the moniker Samson Wrote, Boer created Pigeon, a collection of nostalgia and reflection that rises and falls like the tide and washes away conventional song structure.
Boer was born in Guelph and now lives in Toronto, where he spends time interviewing artists and hosting the podcast "Lyrically Speaking." His passion for writing and music comes across on Pigeon, which pulls together themes of nostalgia, the lessons we learn, what we leave behind and how our childhood shapes who we become.
The tracks on Pigeon move in cinematic and experimental patterns, hinging on recurring themes — both lyrical and melodic — over verse and chorus repetitions. Tracks like "Stranger" and "Lipstick" unfurl as journeys: where you land is often shifted from where the song began.
Samson Wrote is at his best when he plays with intricacy and when the through-lines are clear. "Collections" has a wafting and folky sense to it. "What a Place to Rest" uses strings to create a sense of anxiety as Boer asks, "What am I allowed to feel right now?" "Nowhere & Everywhere" rises in energy and features the vocals of Anita Cazzola punctuating and harmonizing. The repetition of "I'm feeling older now" serves as a thesis to the album, a growing chant of realization and understanding. Time moves forward. We hold on to what we can.
Occasionally, Pigeon feels as though it has taken on too much, breaking into multiple melodies in one song, each strong, but disjointed. "Her & I" begins on a happy lovestruck note and ends with something more melancholy, shifting the mood throughout, keeping the listener engaged, but losing a sense of unity in the process.
There is a moment on "Nowhere & Everywhere" where a young Sam Boer pipes in from a cassette recording, "Hello my name is Sam Boer. I have blue eyes. I am right-handed." In the span of this prolific and expansive debut, we can feel that introduction and those blue eyes carving out a place in the folk scene. (Independent)