Sam Newton has been steadily building a cache of songs across three albums and with each new release he seems to find a more intuitive and direct line to his muse. Stare Into The Dark peels back the layers to expose the gentle core of his songwriting, some wonderful instrumental touches and plenty of space for the songs to breathe.
There’s a sense of calm across the album, in keeping with the late-night, reflective theme of its title and artwork. Songs such as ‘Hazel Eyes’ hang and drift with Newton’s vocal the binding thread holding them together as he sings of relationships, mental health and self doubt. It’s a dark collection of songs and a brave one at that. Laying out his thoughts and fears so openly and with this kind of raw honesty requires confidence and a certain degree of letting go.
Newton’s been wise to surround himself with some fine musicians who know when to sketch out the skeleton of a song or weave lush sonic tapestries and there are some exquisite instrumental moments on the album, particularly the shimmering, searching electric guitar playing of Cameron Henderson. The real winner though is Newton’s song-craft and his ability to compose classic lilting melodies, such as those on the gorgeous ‘Be Your Baby’, that ultimately shine an optimistic light through the darkness of his songs.