Sampha – Dual EP review

Sampha: dark but beautiful British RnB

Yesterday saw the release of the eagerly awaited Sampha EP, ‘Dual’. Sampha has managed to develop a name for himself through work with artists ranging from SBTRKT to Jessie Ware, with whom he made the incredible ‘Valentine’. Many have been anticipating this new release of solo material.

On the EP’s second track, ‘Beneath the Tree,’ Sampha reminds us that “There’s a monster inside us all”, but an airy melancholic tone breathes acceptance, and the lonely atmosphere of this track contrasts with the decadence often shown in other contemporary, male-fronted RnB (The Weeknd and Jeremih, for example). It sets up the perfectly dark, inky British tone heard throughout the rest of the tracks.

‘Without’ showcases Sampha’s ability to move from his blistering falsetto to a softer, more natural tone. The extension of the pitch range for this adds to the gloomy yet beautiful tone, and this is punctuated when he opens one of the verses with a high pitched “I’m far from perfect”. He seems to accept and embrace his lack of perfection, making the music infinitely more dark and serene.

This acceptance of what is to come is again present in ‘Indecision,’ a track that has been floating around for a few months now. A simple piano part and repetitions of “Let it all work out” create a tastefully rare feeling of inner peace within the song. This hook perhaps makes even the least spiritual of us feel tempted by the notion that everything happens for a reason.

From the outset, ‘Dual’ brings us more of Sampha’s murky Burial-esque RnB that any Londoner will find reminds them of home, and the title of its majestic finale, ‘Can’t Get Close’, sums up his masterpiece perfectly – it draws us near, but not near enough to fully make out the shadowy depths of the British urban landscape, leaving us besotted and wanting more!