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Sam Roberts Band, All Of Us Album Review

By Phjoshua @thereviewsarein

released All Of Us this week, the seventh full-length album from Roberts and Co., and a new chapter in the Canadian rocker's catalogue of music.

With nine songs clocking in at 38 minutes, the album is a reminder of how much we love the man and the band and that they aren't married to one sound or style as time marches on. Since 2002, Sam Roberts' name has been relevant and revered on the Canadian rock and roll scene. And nearly 20 years later, All Of Us, with outstanding tracks like Youth, Ascension, War Chest, and the title track put the band back in the spotlight where they belong.

While these songs were written over the last two years or so, and recorded just before the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown hit Montreal, they feel like they belong to this time and they are certainly welcome here and now.

Let's go through All Of Us, one track at a time, and then hit play to listen to the whole darn thing like it deserves.

Sam Roberts Band, All Of Us Track-by-Track Review

1. Wolf Tracks

Off the top of All Of Us, SRB gets into top quality songwriting mode on Wolf Tracks. The imagery and metaphor and storytelling is all there and I'm here for it. It is songwriter rock, and I appreciate that as a tone-setter to kick things off, and as a song that makes me want to sit down and just listen as the lyrics and the music and the arrangement and vibe flows over me.

2. War Chest

From the bare-bones piano opening, War Chest had me paying close attention. And when Sam Roberts gets to the line, "Without love, where would we be?", right before the rest of the band comes in, I'm fully invested.

For a moment I got a Beatles vibe while I was listening, and I mean that in the best way. I also felt the nostalgia and memories and a fight between appreciation ( "All I can do is thank you all") and sadness ( "The way you used to laugh still echoes in the walls") as the song moved from line to line and from start to finish. Feelings in rock and roll, there's room for that.

3. Ascension

I love this song.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit there have been a lot of songs released that I can't wait to see performed live, and Ascension is on that list. I would absolutely love to see Sam Roberts Band come out on stage and start a rock show with this song. Please and thank you.

Also, on an album packed with love and hope in the depths of despair, the reassurance in the lines, "It's never too late to turn around, you're never too young to try" and "It's never too late to turn around, you're never too old to try" both feel incredibly important for all of us, no matter how old we are or how old we feel.

Ascension is a jam on the surface and a song of hope and a call to action too - and that's a combo I can get behind.

4. Spellbound

The first time I listened to Spellbound I really felt like it was a said farewell to youth and being carefree and reckless. And then I bit hard on the not goodbye part of "So long, but not goodbye".

Maybe what I'm supposed to be feeling is a sense of memory for youth and a knowledge that those feelings (if not those circumstances) are still out there is the best timeline, waiting for me to find them and embrace them.

So long, but not goodbye.

The longest song on All Of Us, Spellbound is one that I'm glad I listened to more than a couple of times, and I'm sure I'll revisit it for all 6:04 as my relationship with this album grows.

5. Take Me Away

Even on an album with a theme of love and hope, there's room for a song about wanting to run away from something that's not working out. And Take Me Away is that.

If you've ever been in a spot where "Got to move on, won't be long before I break, come and save me, I can't remember who the real me is and I'm a prisoner, come take me away" feels familiar - Sam Roberts Band is here for you with an assurance that you aren't alone.

6. I Like The Way You Talk About The Future

There are some songs that I listen to and wish I could have been in the room when they were written, or that I could get inside the artist's head just for a minute or two to see where they came from and how they came together. I Like The Way You Talk About The Future is one of those songs.

I'm incredibly curious where these lyrics and thoughts came from. I want to know how it all came together to become a nearly five-minute-long song that I just listened to five times in a row to try and explain what I think when I hear it. In the end, I've decided that I like the mystery.

It also feels clear that five times clearly isn't enough times to listen to the song.

7. Ghost Town

If you've got any kind of conflicted relationship with where you grew up, or your time growing up, Ghost Town knows you.

If you've gone back to a place and felt the pull into a cavern of old feelings and memories because of the setting you're in that feels like it hasn't changed even though you have, you'll feel this song in your bones.

We've all got our own stories of course, but Ghost Town seems to find a way to tap into them and connect to them. Don't fight it. Let it in.

8. All Of Us

The title track of the album comes second to last, and that's just fine. The lyrics of the All Of Us read like songwriting poetry with the kind of hopeful message that is really easy not to write, instead of embracing the dark or hard or hurt.

The offer of being there, through thick and thin, when things are at their deepest and darkest... it's maybe the biggest thing any of us can give to someone else. And while this song was written well before the pandemic hit, it feels like it fits perfectly with where all of us are right now.

Where you go, I go/ No you'll never be alone/ Even when you lose hope/ Waiting for a miracle/ I will follow you/ To the end of the road/ Where you go I'll go/ No you'll never be alone

9. Youth

Remember when you were little and had big dreams and grand excitement for the smallest things, Sam Roberts does too - and so we get Youth to wrap up All Of Us.

The song feels like a combination of a reminder of those feelings and a plea to hold onto them as we collectively move forward in our journeys that can get bogged down in thoughts and feelings and circumstances that make it harder to embrace those joyous moments.

It also feels like a reminder to help the children experience those things even in the upside-down times we're living in right now - even if that's not what it was trying to do when it was written or recorded.

All Of Us is a strong album. A hopeful album. A songwriter's album. An album that wants us to move forward with the thought that we can do it, even if it's hard.

Hit play on the stream now to listen to Sam Roberts Band's All Of Us and enjoy!

Sam Roberts Band, All Of Us Tracklist

Sam Roberts Band, All Of Us Album Review

Sam Roberts Band, All Of Us Album Review

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