And Straight On Till Morning

by Samson & Delilah

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about

Samson & Delilah's second album 'And Straight On Till Morning' is a beautiful record of psychedelic folk, immaculately recorded in a restored Victorian concert hall. Recorded almost totally live over a single week, the record uses the vast space of the concert hall to full effect, with natural reverb and multiple ambient microphones capturing the dynamics of a band totally at ease with each other and their songs. Often playing together in a circle, their music acts as direct folk songs that communicate truths between performer and listener.

Starting with the spooked-out cover of a boy discovering a strange beast, an atmosphere of nocturnal psychedelia seeps through songs where physical and emotional distance intertwine. The title comes from Peter Pan; Lench's songs in particular capture the book's sense of escape and flight, be it literal or in dreams. His singing is rich and warm but with a vulnerability that complements that longing. Zweck's songs by contrast were written while suffering from a serious bout of RSI-related illness. Unable to move her right hand to create melodic elements, her piano-based songs were written around minimal chords, unconsciously referencing her interest in minimal composers like Arvo Part and Tord Gustavsen. When coupled with a full band and in particular Motown-style drums that bleed onto all the microphones, the effect is thrilling.

This contrast between sparse, elemental writing and the full band arrangements is one of the features of the record, and one where producer Brendan Williams has played a key role. More used to recording orchestral ensembles, he uses the very fabric of the Victorian building to bring out the intimate details of these most personal of songs. As early as the opening 'I Took Your Hand', the sense of movement in the lyrics is brought to life - a set of microphones placed along a corridor gradually bring Lench's vocal eerily into focus. In 'The Ground', Williams has the whole band singing through the guts of a prepared piano with only a drum and the echo inside the piano to unify the words. Elsewhere, bowed cymbals, gongs and drones lie just beneath the surface of 'Rope Has Bound The Shadows Down'. It is in songs such as this where the album's marriage of unreal wonder and the vividly personal links so well.

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released January 17, 2011

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Samson & Delilah Manchester, UK

“Psych folk lives on. The clash of traditional influences and psychedelia is an established strand of the new folk scene, thanks to bands like this five-piece from Manchester. Samson & Delilah features the husband-&-wife team Sam Lench and Anna Zweck, who are both singers, songwriters and multi-instrumentalists.
With melodies as sturdy as great hymns, this should be a band to watch.” THE GUARDIAN
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