This is a review of "Human Being Being Human" recorded by Sam Daintree. The review was written by Ashley Battye in 2012.
Thinly-spread, music-making, bikeshop-working, meat-abstaining, maths-loving human-being.
This is how Sam Daintree describes himself on Twitter; I bet the ladies just throw themselves at a skinny vegetarian who talks about bikes and trigonometry, even his profile picture is one of a cat- oh dear.
The reason I mention Twitter is that this EPs fourth and final track 'Tweet, Tweet my Lovely' seems to be about this very subject. The song contains a passage of lyrics that read 'Is this the open society? / A bunch of trendy twits who think they're God's gift, saving humanity/ Newspaper-killing/ Injunction-busting/ Civil rights-defending/ Just don't mention the revenue streams/ They're all dried up.' Is this a dig at Twitter and at certain people who use it? If so, is it hypocritical to criticise a social media site and then become a member of it? Or are killing newspapers and busting injunctions good things? Maybe it's meant to be sarcastic or comical? Or maybe this confusion is all part of the message? Oh I don't know.
Anyway, on to the music and although the dynamics do suffer without any percussion and a bass player, it is quite refreshing to hear a record made with just an acoustic guitar, even if the playing is erratic and constantly throwing the listener off with rhythm changes and unconventional chord progressions.
The vocals too follow a similar pattern; there is distinct lack of recognisable verse and chorus parts, which is okay up to a point, but after a while it does get rather irritating and will have even some of the most hardened 'alternative' music fans out there pawing at their stereos franticly trying to find the stop button.
Despite the obscure guitar playing and enigmatic singing approach, I'm sure many people will claim to like this record as they do with plenty of others of a similar style, and I do understand completely that everyone's ears are tuned differently and that we all enjoy different stuff, but I just can't get over the fact that, in my experience anyway, many of Sam Daintree's potential audience do and buy things simply because of how they perceive that they will be viewed by others, or because they see it as somehow ideologically 'right', and not because they actually want to or because it makes any actual sense. Maybe some copies of 'Human Being Being Human' will be sold to those who genuinely enjoy the music, but I'm worried that Sam may become culturally pigeonholed and that the majority of copies will be bought by the sort of feckless idiot who doesn't like coffee yet goes to Starbucks everyday because he thinks it makes him look sophisticated, who has nothing wrong with his eyes yet wears glasses with no lenses purely for fashions sake, who has suddenly developed a Southern accent despite living in Rotherham for the first 18 years of his life, and who protests against tuition fees despite doing a degree that will set him up nicely for a life on benefits. Yep, this is the perfect sound to be hijacked by the lazy, lefty student brigade.
There has always been a fine line between boundary-pushing art and the completely ridiculous, and I'm afraid 'Human Being Being Human' falls firmly on the wrong side of it. But we must remember that this is a debut EP, a first effort, and with an intriguing voice and obvious guitar playing ability- though only glimpses of this are revealed on this record- I feel the future may be a little brighter for Sam Daintree.