Samantha Urbani proves her absence from music has been well justified on new EP

In Album Reviews by Rachel Chandler

Backed by a visceral lead single, Samantha Urbani’s new EP Policies of Power proves her absence from music has been well justified

As nuanced and visceral as lead single ‘Go Deeper’ promised us it would be, Policies of Power, the new EP from Samantha Urbani, exudes the kind of confidence and resonance that comes with an artist honing their craft entirely and producing something meaningful and true to themselves as an artist. An EP like this can only be born from a true reflection of the inner self, a musical exploration and exact representation of the sound that is most honest to what Samantha Urbani wishes to create.

It’s dangerously layered in a way that’s both daring and bold as well as being a showcase for the vast reaches of musical talent that Urbani holds. Comparisons to the likes of the late great Prince are nothing new for Urbani’s work, but the brilliant vocal detailing in play on the EP in its entirety makes the comparison one rooted in truth.

‘U Know I Know’ has the thrumming beat that makes a powerful statement, but has a strange kind of dancehall vibe in the stabbing synths and flow of lyrics coming forth like finely spun silver. Urbani has always possessed an ear for the ebb and flow of words and on this track particularly the lyrics are so well crafted that there’s a real rolling feeling created. Take the lines ‘Why you out there chasing them when you know I’m irreplaceable?/My love, gonna be so clear/You know I know that we go way beyond these years’ which are delivered with an emphasis on every syllable despite the seemingly crammed sentences.

‘Time Time Time’ possesses gravitas from the opening tolling of an eerie bell. The sax sections create a mournful atmosphere before breaking down into a marvellously 80’s funk track. The constant erratic drum beat reflecting the plodding but fragmented sensation of time and the smart guitar riffs in the background serve to alleviate the track into the realms of surrealist synth magic.

‘1 2 3 4’ also features, a track originally released back in 2015 much like the aforementioned ‘U Know I Know’ but it nevertheless retains the brilliance and impact it did two years ago. It also doesn’t seem out of place amongst the other new tracks, more like a stepping stone into the more firmly placed tracks such as ‘Go Deeper’, which seems to have perfectly cemented the essence of Urbani’s sound.

The second single from Policies of Power, ‘Hints and Implications’ has arguably the best key change of 2017. Seriously, that last minute is utterly euphoric and wouldn’t feel out of place in a cult coming of age movie. Credit really is due here for the thought process behind such a musical shift, Urbani knows exactly where the change will hit and judges it faultlessly.

‘Go Deeper’ still remains the stand out track for me, a song that has a relentless beat that keeps the toes a’tapping and the head a’bobbing long after the track has finished. It cleverly manages to chart the mishaps of the heart without becoming somber or twee as such. With the ever brilliant opening lines of the hook ‘How much violence can silence create?/Is emptiness the heaviest weight’, it’s the highlight of the EP for me in terms of sophistication and strength in production.

The overall message to take away from Policies of Power, is that Samantha Urbani has an exquisite understanding of pop music and that if it takes her another few years to make something as polished as this then by all means, to ahead. I’ll be waiting.