Wilde Sammon are a local acoustic duo, comprising Dave Wilde on guitar and backing vocals, and Chris (you’re ahead of me, aren’t you…) Sammon on lead vocals and guitar. Chris is also (along with the elusive Keiran Moses) half of the band’s songwriting detail. ‘Forgotten Joys’ resides in the grey area betwixt E.P. and album, featuring eight songs by the aforementioned partnership. Let’s get this out of the way, then we can all move on: Chris, on occasion, sounds unnervingly like Neil Diamond. I’ve seen Wilde Sammon a number of times and I know this has been levelled at him before, so, hopefully, he won’t mind it appearing in ‘print’. Phew, I’ve said it… Onwards.
The overall timbre of Wilde Sammon, despite the sporadic Diamond-esque vocal nuances, is very English. Opener, ‘Rough and Tumble Game’ feels like Half Man Half Biscuit during one of their more thoughtful moments; subdued, understated and intelligent, but tongue still inhabits cheek. This very knowingly English ethos paints the pitch for the rest of the recording, with the echo of prominent, more-often-than-not Northern (with a capital ‘N’) songwriters permeating various tracks; there’s a bit of Ian McCulloch to ‘Rough and Tumble Game’, ‘Broken Toys’ evokes later Pulp and ‘Seaside’ would slot snugly into a Paul Heaton gig. If anything lets the side down it’s the occasional ‘that’ll do…’ approach to production. The keys/synths do (especially on ‘Broken Toys’) lift the track away from the ‘two blokes in a room’ ambience almost inevitable with a lot of acoustic recordings, but the chosen sounds don’t seem very well considered. On purely tongue-in-cheek recordings (John Shuttleworth, etc.), they’re part of the landscape, but, here, they’re sometimes distracting and incongruous. That gripe aside, ‘Forgotten Joys’ is the fruit of witty, intelligent and very English labours. Well worth a listen and well worth a punt live. Emanuel Shadrack.
Wilde Sammon run fortnightly live acoustic gigs at The Station Inn over in Silkstone. Keep up to date with Wilde Sammon via their facebook page www.facebook.com/WildeSammon