Sam Duckworth – ‘Amazing Grace’

By Conor Mackie

You probably already know Sam Duckworth. The brains behind Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. is back with ‘Amazing Grace’, his awesome new record released under his own name. Recruiting over 40 musicians (including Gomez, Yourcodenameis:milo, Kate Nash to name a few) to help him, Duckworth has created a wonderful record rich with incredible lyrics and beautiful arrangements.

The whole album feels like Duckworth has tucked you in, smoothed your hair and kissed your forehead before telling you wonderful stories to soothe you to sleep. He regales you with tales of whirlwind romances, foolishness and heartbreak. It’s with this last group that the album truly excels.

‘As It Is’ is the standout song. An Owen-esque opening with intricate acoustic guitar and ambient background noise leads to lyrics describing a breakup. Anyone who’s ever been involved in the collapse of a relationship, on either side of the separation, will resonate with this song. Duckworth sings, “you say your piece, word it a bit too well, breaking it down, making it help. / I reiterate in the hope it might get through, it’s not the same for me as it is for you”, with that last line repeated as the guitar fades and the noise swells and gets more chaotic before falling away. Whether you’ve ever broken up with someone, or been broken up with, if those two lines don’t absolutely destroy you, then you’re not human. Seek help. Immediately.

‘Long Division’ is another song that tears your heart out. Duckworth laments that “It’s always the way, looking for the joy in what remains”, whilst intertwining guitars float around each other and a piano plucks chords behind, before a beautiful horn solo sits on top. The song is so dreamlike and Duckworth’s vocal perfectly suits the arrangement.

What Duckworth is great at is writing songs that connect with everyone. Whether it’s heartbreak or simply being so far away from home, like on ‘Property Pages’ when he despairs “if only home weren’t so far away”.

Duckworth has this uncanny ability to craft a line out of nowhere that grabs you by the collar, kisses you deeply and warmly and then tells you it’s the last time it’ll ever happen. Anyone searching for a record that can be the soundtrack to your hot, sleepless summer nights, you can stop now. ‘Amazing Grace’ is what you’ve been looking for.

CONOR MACKIE

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