Review: Sam Brittain, “Our Shining Skin”

Image Courtesy of Sam Brittain (photo credit: Little Finch Photography)

Sam Brittain has been one of the shining stars of the South Australian singer-songwriter scene over the past year, supporting the likes of Passenger and Matt Corby and bravely embarking on his own national tour to launch his debut solo album Our Shining Skin. Sam’s a product of SA’s famous Barossa Valley region, where he has been active in gigging and recording (mostly with rock bands) ever since his high school years. However, it’s only been recently that Sam Brittain has been hitting the city in a big way as a solo artist.

Our Shining Skin delivers a lot more than could be expected of a 22 year old’s debut. Vocally, his experience shines through with control and range that will allow Sam to hold his own on any stage. The recorded sound is also very impressive. Blues guitar, cello, mandolin and fiddle all come and go and the production quality is absolutely faultless.

It’s hard to really peg Our Shining Skin within a genre. Most of the time it feels like a folk record, other times a blues-rock odyssey, but there are also songs that would sound right at home on country radio. Straight ahead and subdued acoustic-pop songs such as “Don’t Cry” and “Bones” and “Our Shining Skin” are shuffled between moodier and wonderfully creative bluesy tracks like “Wait For You” that compare to Matt Corby’s “Souls a’Fire” and entrancing journeys like “The Coldest Trace” and “Laneway”. The most enjoyable pop songs on the album I find are those that are fast-paced and tinged with bluegrass or quick-picked folk instrumentation such as “Bruises” and “Garden”. The moment where the versatility of this album really strikes you when the final notes of the contemporary-classical arrangements of “A Perfect Line” fade to welcome the   strumming of “Carnival” which evolves unexpectedly but very naturally in a very funky direction.

Our Shining Skin is a formidable and wide-spanning resume from Sam Brittain and it will be very interesting to see how his writing solidifies as his career continues, as this record proves he has far more options for direction than most. I only regret that it took me 2 months to take this record out of its plastic.

Catch Sam Brittain play alongside Timber and Steel‘s favourite sons Jack Carty (Syd) and Tom West (of Traveller & Fortune) at the Annex Cafe in Glenelg, South Australia on Thursday 16th August. Click here for details.

3 Comments

  1. August 17, 2012 at 15:30

    […] “Our Shining Skin is a formidable and wide-spanning resume from Sam Brittain and it will be very interesting to see how his writing solidifies as his career continues, as this record proves he has far more options for direction than most” – Sam Brittain, Our Shining Skin. Review here […]

  2. September 26, 2012 at 14:34

    […] you read our review of Sam Brittain’s debut album Our Shining Skin on Timber and Steel, you’ll know that we think very highly of this young South Australian songwriter. So […]

  3. September 10, 2014 at 18:58

    […] and with countless more hours of touring, busking and writing under his belt since releasing his 2012 Our Shining Skin debut. Certainly, it can be seen as a continuation of his debut stylistically, stamping his name […]


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