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A Black Sarcasm


Artist: Sapienn
Label: Sapienn
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 18 November 2017

Sapienn is a solo acoustic project from Glasgow based singer/songwriter Scott Simpson. A late bloomer in acoustic music, and only having minimal training as a kid, Simpson started taking vocal lessons at the age of 30. He began writing and producing as Sapienn mid-way through 2016, and the debut EP Hours Of Despair was released in October of that year. With this new and untested material at the ready, Scott began performing tirelessly into 2017, and within a few short months started closing in on his 100th show. A Black Sarcasm is his debut album...

Never judge a book by its cover, I was always told at school. When we received Sapienn's new album, A Black Sarcasm, for review my first impression was that this was a hardcore rock album, possibly heavy metal. Sapienn (aka Scott Simpson) has long hair, dresses all in black, has black painted fingernails and the cover to his latest album pushes the cliched aspects of the metal scene.

So when I started listening I was expecting heavy electric guitars, a guttural vocal sound and a lot of shouting... er... what a bigoted idiot I now feel. Sapienn's sound couldn't be further from his image, which again made me reflect on how we've be conditioned to pigeonhole artists by their appearance - which is just plain wrong.

While Sapienn has the appearance of a mighty viking warrior (sorry Sapienn, no offence intended), he has the voice of an angel... okay, I might be going a little over the top there. I was truly surprised to discover that Sapienn not only has a diverse vocal range but he also has a gift for writing songs that are acoustically tender and incredibly memorable.

The album contains 9 song (53 min, 36 sec) and while it's almost impossible to pick out highlights, mainly because it's an album that works best as a whole project, I did enjoy 'Palisades'; the stripped back sound of 'Cognitive Bias (I'll See You In The Woods)'; 'Cry Wolf'; the crowd pleasing 'Cognitive Resonance (How To Start An Idle Heart)'; and the closing 'Opening Corners' (which hides a bonus easter egg style track which showcases Simpson's sense of humour).

'Reptilian' reminded me, in it execution, of the sort of music Crowded House put out at the height of their creativity; whilst 'Opposite Corners' brought to mind Rufus Wainwright at his finest.

In addition to the album, we were also sent Sapienn's single '1955' and the EP Hours of Despair. If you like A Black Sarcasm, then I'd strongly advise you to also pick these up.

As debut albums go, they don't come more polished than this. Listen out for Sapienn in the future - he might be a late bloomer, but he has a promising career ahead of him.


Darren Rea

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