28 March 2017 (released)
30 March 2017
At the young age of 15, Sam Levin has the compositional talent of an industry veteran. The young protege performs virtually every instrument on the album and weaves together complimentary melodies and tight rhythms with ease and finesse. With a debut EP released at 12, Levin is well on his way to a long career in the industry. Frame of Mind, his first full-length delivers 12 thoughtful pieces with a laid-back feel and lyrics that transcend his years. From the acoustic base, Levin adds in tasteful electronic albums, giving them a modern, folktronica style.
Tight arpeggiated programming and verbed-out claps open the album. 'Everything's Okay' builds with warm ascending lines mirroring U2-style inspirational numbers. Welcoming keys percolate under the verses. 'Setup' takes a more cynical tone over a snappy bossa nova. An adorable, mischievous girl joins the fray to duet with Levin. The tale is brief and to the point, the narrator fell for the setup. The album's title track lays acoustic on a bed of organ. Levin restates his insistence that everything's gonna be alright. Wise words about changing perspectives follow. The organ giving the pop tune a gospel twist.
The most interesting material comes at the end of the album when some of the focus on pop balladry fades away and Levin lets himself get further into crossover territory. 'Metronome' creatively bounces off a metronome-like clave, playing with rhythms somersaulting over each other and clever references to chord changes. The album finale 'Tru Mo' relies fully on an electronic beat and samples in a basic music instructional video. The 'Bob Ross of music' conveys a beautiful message about the art form's ability to make you deeply happy.
The album is a strong effort from an artist with a bright future. The songs though well-crafted, don't really stick out from each other save for the final few numbers. The musical talent is there but there is a lot of room to develop in terms of diversity and ingenuity. With such an early start, Sam Levin has plenty of time to find his voice.