Sam Westhoff Brings Colour to Indie Music with 8-Track Amalgam of Pop, Rock and Soul
Back at the beginning of June, I wrote a piece about an old friend of mine, Sam Westhoff. At that point, Westhoff had been planning the rollout of a new single every month for the next year. Sometimes plans change, though: in the case of Westhoff, the single-a-month schedule became an LP, released just a year after his last full-length, and while the timetable may have changed, Westhoff was sure to not sacrifice the quality of his material. The result that ensued is Colour, a stellar 8-track LP that clocks in just shy of a half hour.
Much of Westhoff’s tunes in the past have revolved around some sort of groove, and this is no exception with Colour. Right away on “Wait Up,” an infectious guitar groove continues that precedent, while a thundering bassline holds everything together. “Everyday” follows this up with a slower stomp and a minimalistic vibe, while “Easy” is a trippy slow-burner. Although all three of these opening tracks differ sonically, the prominent bassline is characteristic of all three, and really of the entire album in general, serving as the driving force for tracks like the bluesy “Woke Up for You,” the album’s second single “The Way That You Move,” and the standout closer “Night Cap.” Even when it’s not as apparent, the bassline still plays a key role, whether it’s completing that full sound on the gospel-esque “Not So Steady” or complementing the more subdued nature of “Slow Burn.”
Throughout Colour, there is a sort of massiveness to Westhoff’s compositions. With cuts such as the slower “Easy” and the upbeat “Night Cap,” this wall of sound can likely be attributed to the nasty electronics, while this “wall” is rooted in a fuller, more rock sound on “Wait Up” and “Woke Up for You.” Even on the less “massive” sounding tunes like “Not So Steady” and “Slow Burn,” a certain epic undertone can still be heard.
A few months ago I was convinced that Tulsa singer-songwriter Sam Westhoff had undergone a complete sonic evolution. In many ways, my initial interpretation of Westhoff’s shift in sound could have been construed as drastic. However, the more I listen to Colour, the smoother this transition seems, and the more it just seems like the next logical step in his musical journey. My only real gripe with Colour as a whole is how short it is. Like I mentioned in that June article, it feels like a lot of his tunes end not long after the listener really starts getting into them. That said, as much as I want to hear more of virtually every song from the LP, I’m glad Westhoff didn’t force anything. Indeed, if there’s one thing that Colour epitomizes—other than its quality—it is natural, intentional, and well put-together indie music that channels pop, rock, and soul—all over the course of 25 minutes.