On Repeat: Samuel Sandoval – Garden Noise (2017)


By Phil Rieth – Contributor

Samuel Sandoval is a singer-songwriter out of Meriden, CT who records freak-folk songs out of his basement. On his strong debut LP Garden Noise, Sandoval comes with a thoroughly developed sound and a promising reason to look forward to future releases.

Garden Noise’s opening track, “Seasonal Thoughts,” perfectly defines the sonic palette present throughout the record: smooth, meticulous finger picking, stuttering, sparse drums, and playful electronics accompany nearly every track. Sandoval’s reserved baritone, backed by his aching falsetto, gives the tracks a melancholic feel, especially with the slight delay in backing vocals. These songs are at once painstaking and relaxed, and create a rewarding experience for both close and casual listening.

This sound is most successful on standout track “Big Frame, Small Spirit.” The song begins with a seemingly basic chord progression, but Sandoval’s melody and subtle electronic work build to something bigger. The track beautifully resolves with the emergence of a female vocal (provided by Sandoval’s sister, Gaby).

Clocking in at just over 31 minutes, Garden Noise is a quick yet revealing snapshot of what Sandoval has to offer. While the record may seem indebted to albums like Animal Collective’s Sung Tongs or Grizzly Bear’s Yellow House, Sandoval’s detailed lyricism and dense instrumentals prove that he has a wholly original sound that is worth the time of any music fan.

Stream Garden Noise on Bandcamp and Spotify below.

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