Samuel Markus,
No Mission
(Yatara, 2006)

Samuel Markus is a Los Angeles transplant from Montreal. This singer/songwriter has released a short EP sampling his tranquil brand of folk. He has decent vocals but sounds as if he is bored. The music ambles along at a pace one might associate with a life of leisure or no direction. He doesn't exert himself at all on the microphone, but rather sings with a mumble, barely venturing past a monotone. Where Sam excels is with his songwriting. He is barely out of his teens, yet some of his songs are deeper than you would expect for a kid his age.

The first track, "Life Is," has supposedly been released as a single according to the promotional material. I have not heard it on the radio. "The daylight comes and in your eyes I see the sun. ... What do you see when you look back at me? I know it must seem like a tragedy. Am I the one you love? The one you need? Or just someone to put your mind at ease? You don't ask for much and I don't have too much to give. It's hard for both of us, but that's the way life is." In Sam's words, this track describes "the inability of two lovers to give each other what they need."

"Fall From Grace" came about due to Sam's love of gospel music. He says this song is an "expression of gratitude for being able to see the good in all things, no matter how difficult the circumstances." Musically, the song is just as subdued as the rest on the CD. There is no gospel sound. Lyrically he sings about how "I lose my faith. I don't feel safe. I don't feel love. I can't find my way. I feel out of touch. I feel out of place. I feel left out. And I fall from grace. ... But God is good. And it'll be OK. Sometimes life is hard to take. But I won't turn my back. I won't run away. I won't give up hope. I won't lose my faith."

Markus plays guitar and is backed up by three musicians: Brett Simons (bass), Mario Calire (drums) and Trevor Hall (guitar). Sam wrote four of the five tracks by himself; "Farewell" was co-written with David Markus.

Markus has a decent, low-energy promotional EP here. You can sample all five tracks at a lower quality than is found on the EP by going to his website. If he ever has a full-length production, it would not surprise me if it incorporated these tracks. But unless you are a fan of the single "Life Is," you like EPs, or you just have to have every single thing released by an artist, I would sit on the fence on this one and wait to see what comes out next.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Wil Owen

8 March 2008

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