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Samsara –
Love Upside Down |
EP Review

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Cultural Reset

The evocative songwriter tackles heartache on her chilling EP, ‘Love Upside Down’.

Having already released four emphatic singles throughout the year, the breathtaking singer-songwriter continues to set 2022 alight, with the release of her scintillating 6-track EP, ‘Love Upside Down’, offering an agonising delineation of a tumultuous long-distance relationship. Combining elements of Folk-Rock, Country and Baroque-Pop, Samsara’s latest project is an elegant, expressive, and evocative body of work, with her sensational vocals taking centre stage across every track.

Opening with the sweet, yet heartfelt ‘Long Distance Lullaby’, Samsara struggles to overcome the 14-hour time difference which alienates herself from a lover. Yet as the minimal, acoustic instrumentation provides a spacious atmosphere for her delicate vocals, Samsara appears to find solace within this age of technology, singing; “though I can’t be by your side, I can see you dream”. These glimmers of satisfaction continue into the following track ‘Make My Dreams Come True’, a defiant, transitional piano ballad where Samsara explores the idea of moving closer to her lover, prompting her to ask the elusive question, “will you take me by the hand?”.

One of the many elements which makes ‘Love Upside Down’ such an irresistible experience, is the exhilarating baroque/chamber elements which cause the instrumentation to be so impactful. ‘Love For All Time’ can certainly be assigned to this category, with its ethereal strings, sparkling synths, and glistening percussion generating a magical atmosphere which could only be equalled by that of a Disney fairytale. Engaging with this entrancing ambience, Samsara adopts an optimistic outlook, with her heartfelt lyrics stating how “all my dreams come true”. While maintaining the sparkling touch of its predecessor, ‘Strawberry Parfait’ evokes similar a feeling of hope, as Samsara can be heard fantasising about the joyous activities which awaits them. However, on this occasion, the feelings of warmth are channelled through the laid back bluesy rhythms, where the experimental guitar grooves and unconventional delivery provide a certain Kate Bush feel about the track.

The EP closes with two of its most despondent tracks – ‘Hard To Love’ featuring a wheeping slide guitar which extracts every ounce of emotion from the moonlit, bluesy ballad. An evocative cut wrote during the failing stages of her relationship, everything from the chilling vocals to the emphatic sax solo poignantly captures these feelings of despair. ‘Love Upside Down’ culminates in a reflective manner, with the acoustic ballad, ‘Glass Shards’ tying the project together with Samsara picking up the pieces of a memorable, yet heart-breaking experience.

Despite being a relatively short project, its cohesive themes, diverse instrumentation, and pristine vocals ensure ‘Love Upside Down’ is an emphatic listen throughout, with Samsara’s impactful songwriting making this project a serious candidate for EP of the year.

- Mike Owen

September 10, 2022

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