Sam Roberts’s newest album isn’t a drastic reworking of his sound; he knows he’s got a formula that’s served him well so far. It does, however, have a new level of earthiness. The production sounds warmer and more classic, even a bit raw at times. The alt-rock gloss of his earlier work often washed over the hooks and songwriting. There’s much more swing and groove now, and more intimacy.
On a related note, there’s much less droning guitar jangle and fewer psych references, in favour of blues and country textures. It’s not a roots rock album by a long shot, but Roberts is edging in that direction. Think more Rolling Stones than the Beatles and you start to get the idea. He’s obviously maturing and growing into his sound, but he should remind himself that he’s not old enough to revert to classic rock clichés just yet.