Sound — 6
The band Sam Champion was formed in 2002 in New York by it's future frontman Noah Chernin and drummer Ryan Thornton, with bassist Jack Dolgen and guitarist Sean Sullivan joining them later. Before they had anything of their own to perform, the guys covered Neil Young and Rolling Stones. A mix of those later defined the group's style -? laid-back "stupid" rock-n-roll flavored with folk, twist and swirling guitars. The debut record "Slow Rewind," out in September 2005, has 10-tracks, produced by Brian Rosenworcel. Indie-rock quartet that borrowed the name from WABC/Ch. 7 weatherman, creates slow-paced songs with simple and predictable guitar riffs, gathering numerous comparisons to Pavement at the same time. You won't hear any guitar gymnastics or outstanding drum solos on "Slow Rewind" -? everything is very simple and without any odd moves. Instead the guys added some "Ranch dressing" -- inclusions of accordion and harmonica (like in "You Can't See The Stars In This Town"). It sounds very sweet and surprisingly organic with other instruments and adds original sound to Sam Champion differing them out of a pile of The Beatles inheritors. The key tracks would be mellow love-song "You Can't See The Stars In This Town" and miserable story about a guy "Too Broke."
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics are plain and witty at the same time, describing obvious things and are worth quoting "I am aggressively lazy" ("Slow Rewind") or "I can't say I don't believe in Elvis/And I can't say I don't believe in love" ("Sally"). "Too Broke" is worth to be an anthem just for it's poetry -- "I'm too broke to get drunk." Zen Buddhism, wise people would call it. Chernin's redneck vocals sound like he doesn't even have a clue what it is like to actually sing, hitting high notes by chance. Listening to that lazy manner of singing makes you happily yell along the record without being ashamed, no matter what vocal abilities you've got.
Overall Impression — 7
The whole process reminded me of some late hour in a pub, where everybody, including musicians, are drunk, but the band still tries to play. The music sounds like the guys are creating and playing it easily, without any strength and not trying to push things. Thus it's a very easy and enjoyable listen. The CD is full of unobtrusive lovely tunes, but it misses by not having any hit songs, which leaves Sam Champion in a range of "one of your favorite bands that no one knows."