Published Oct 26, 2016Sam Roberts has released albums at a steady clip in recent years, with Lo-Fantasy in 2014, the psychedelic Counting the Days EP in 2015 and now TerraForm, his third record as the Sam Roberts Band.
When an artist is 16 years out from their debut album and firmly cemented as a mainstay in Canadian music, there's always the question of whether new albums will delve into uncharted territory or fall back on what works. It's a balancing act, of course — established acts will draw inevitable criticism from fans or critics, regardless of the direction — but where Counting the Days served as a new take on the sound Sam Roberts Band fans are well-versed in, TerraForm (the name is a nod to the idea of travelling to another planet and making it liveable for humans) is a return to the slick, stadium-ready compositions Sam Roberts Band was built on.
That's not necessarily criticism, though. The band does what they do exceptionally well at this point, and TerraForm, produced by Roberts and Graham Walsh of Holy Fuck, has plenty that fans new and old are bound to enjoy. It's a slow-burn from the top, starting with the hazy, repetitive title track, but TerraForm quickly gains momentum with the lead single "If You Want It" and blues-tinged "Black Spark," followed by plenty of infectious, anthemic tunes like "Ritual Dance" and "Tourist Trap."
TerraForm may not be groundbreaking, but it's an enjoyable album that begs to be turned up loud, and sometimes that's all you need.
Pick up TerraForm here. (Universal)