Sam Evian’s highly anticipated third album, Time To Melt is his debut on Fat Possum Records. Sam is a prolific producer and engineer with credits including Big Thief, Blonde Redhead, Widowspeak, Anna Burch, Cass McCombs, Hannah Cohen, Cassandra Jenkins, Okkervil River and more.
With its rubbery bassline and sweeping strings, “Freezee Pops” unfurls like a Summer breeze. It reads, though, like poetic testimony on police brutality, an innocent kid’s life plundered for prison-system profits. And “Knock Knock” taps Sam’s memories of race-and- class violence in the small-town South and his subsequent reckoning with our crumbling American façade, where “we tell ourselves almost anything but the truth.” The song is ultimately a tribute to the perseverance of the vulnerable, who find community and joy in spite of the way centuries of miscreants try to deny it.
There are also songs of utter celebration on Time to Melt, paeans to whatever joy it is we find in life or love. Buttressed by bold baritone sax, lifted by exuberant trumpet, and washed in fluorescent guitars, “Easy to Love” is an exultant ode to finding a new paradise outside of the city, an idyllic setting where you can plant love and literally watch it bloom. “Lonely Days” blows in with a muted brooding, but it’s a feint for Sam’s sweet hymn to a blissful partnership of shared solitude, a true blessing for a year when so many have been alone. “Lonely days are gone,” he repeats, his rhythm shifting just enough in the middle of the sentence to tease dejection and surprise with delight. Sam is so content in the Catskills that the lovely but warped “Sunshine” finds him imagining how heartache must feel, as though it were only ever a hypothetical muse. He sublimates a sense of seasick sadness into a compulsively funky oddity.