The Northern Edge

The beginning sounds quite hopeful (touch of the 1970s TV police drama) but once the lyrics kick in some darker qualities become apparent – some deep poetry heavy with religious metaphor – always an interesting mix. Sam Wickens sounds like a mad combination of SOAK, that great young singer from Derry and, crazy as it may seem, the veteran Paul Brady. I am even getting hints of The Divine Comedy! I wonder if this is because my Dublinese ear loves that Northern accent – it does make the mundane sound edgy. But the single “Faith Delivered” is no mundane song and the likening to SOAK and Brady is no bad thing and Sam Wickens from Bangor, Co. Down is a young man plying his craft with sincerity.

On listening to “Faith Delivered” several times, I am of the opinion that it does not have much variety and the chord progressions are predictable – perhaps giving that “I’ve heard this before” illusion. This is the kind of criticism that has been flung at most Top Ten songs for the past fifty years by self-appointed or otherwise music aficionados. In fairness, this song is in a different league to those bland offerings and if the punters like a bit of repetition or predictability things should work out fine for all concerned. “Faith Delivered” is easy on the ear and is very acceptable as an enjoyable piece of music. Sam Wickens has an exceptionally fine voice and doubtless, a fine career ahead of him. It is not at all surprising that he recently won £1,000 worth of recording time with Cloud Nine Studios. This debut single comes after only two years of Sam writing and performing his own work. That’s a short lead in time and an impressive achievement.

I do feel that Faith Delivered goes on for too long and really, there is not enough substance. Having said that, it’s still a decent enough listen. I like the way the background singers are used – reminds me of some Lou Reed numbers – or dare I say it, Mika – nothing like a big blousy backing chorus after all! Sam is a natural solo performer, somewhat reminiscent of Sting. I know that he is working on new material and I am really looking forward to hearing it. If song writing and music composition was so easy we would all be doing it. But we are not all doing it, and young performers like Sam Wickens are offering up their creative endeavours to public scrutiny and criticism. That’s a very brave thing to do and in the end, “Faith Delivered” is quite a brave song.

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