When the Lights Come Up

by Sam Shinazzi

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about

Sam's fourth album released through Laughing Outlaw Records in 2011.

Reviewed By: Malcolm Carter

It would seem that not a lot has changed musically for Sydney’s Sam Shinazzi since we last heard from him on ‘Then I Held My Breath’ back in 2009. For that we should be thankful. While the years have shown that ‘Then I Held My Breath’ was not quite the classic that Shinazzi’s previous album ‘Stories You Wouldn’t Believe’ was and, although it’s early days right now, it seems that with ‘When The Lights Come Up’ Shinazzi has issued another collection of classic pop/rock songs.

Echoes of ‘Stories You Wouldn’t Believe’ are all over this latest fourth full-length album from the talented Australian. That former album contained such classics as ‘Out Of the Question’, Scotty Come Home’ and ‘The Drifter’ which were not only some of the best songs that Shinazzi has written but some of the best songs any of us are ever likely to hear. Strangely the only other singer/songwriter who comes close to matching the beauty in those songs is another Australian and Shinazzi’s Laughing Outlaw label mate, Perry Keyes.

Like Keyes, Shinazzi doesn’t so much compose songs but sets short stories to pieces of music that are instantly appealing. Shinazzi has a warm, inviting voice that has lost none of its appeal since we first heard from him and his melodies will have you singing along immediately. But it’s Shinazzi’s talent for touching the spot in just one line where other artists take a whole song to get there which impresses most. The closing line of ‘Out Of The Question’ from the six-year-old ‘Stories…’ album still takes the breath away. Songs such as ‘Everything To Me’ on this latest album have that same affect all through the song.

A lot of this is down to Shinazzi’s vocals. Melancholic and totally believable, it’s as though he’s singing directly to you and you alone. With one of his prettiest melodies this tale of unrequited love is Shinazzi at his heartbreaking best. With touching backing vocals from Stella Papavasiliou, Simon Coughlan and Robert Cranny and Jason Walker’s weeping pedal steel it’s a song that sounds like it’s torn straight from Shinazzi’s heart.

It’s not all broken and damaged hearts; as soon as the following song, ‘Good Things’, Shinazzi is celebrating a new love and displays his classic, chiming, more uplifting sound. For all the sounds that it’s fun to try to identify in Shinazzi’s work he does have a sound of his own. It’s easy to hear R.E.M., the Lemonheads, Tom Petty and even Bruce Springsteen in these songs but not once do you lose sight of the fact that you’re listening to classic Shinazzi.

Listening to these eleven new songs it comes to mind that it’s debatable if Shinazzi has ever recorded an average song. Shinazzi’s songs over his last three albums at least have all been above average and warrant repeated playing even after a number of years. Then there’s the songs he has written with other artists; those Shinazzi co-wrote with Jenny Queen on her last two albums come readily to mind, each and every one a perfect pop song.

Shinazzi delivers melodic, thoughtful pop music that envelops you with all its warmth and beauty. He’ll draw you into his world for the duration of his albums and it’s a place you won’t be in a hurry to leave. He’s been one of Australia’s best kept secrets for far too long.

credits

released May 1, 2011

Engineered by Adam Wes Gregorace
Produced by Adam Wes Gregorace and Sam Shinazzi
Mixed by David Trumpmanis

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about

Sam Shinazzi Sydney, Australia

Singer/songwriter from Sydney, AU, with five releases and also co-written with Jenny Queen. Supported Bonnie Prince Billy, Lou Barlow, Buffalo Tom, Mountain Goats, Evan Dando, Pernice Brothers, Jose Gonzalez, Josh Rouse, Crooked Fingers, Richmond Fontaine, Steve Poltz, Hayden, Holly Throsby, Josh Pyke, Peats Ridge Festival and the Great Escape Festival. Sam toured the USA in 2005, 2009 and 2012. ... more

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Track Name: Movie Of Your Life
What do you do when it all breaks down?
And who do you call when you get so far down?
I know it will take some time to get used to you not being around
I know that you’re looking for something but I don’t know what you’ll find

Who would you get to play you in the movie of your life?

There is a distance in your eyes I can see
There are shadows hanging off you where I used to be
And the cars drive all night like they have got some place to go
And the people in those cars, they are people that we know

Who would you get to play you in the movie of your life?

Sitting in a park
Planes fly overhead
You’re telling me this is going nowhere
Moments ago
You were swinging through the air
Now you’re telling me this is going nowhere

Who would you get to play you in the movie of your life?
Track Name: Twin Cities
I flew into the Twin Cities
It was cold and it was wet
I looked through my window to see what I could
But it was dark after sunset

And that is something I won’t ever forget

I walked through the streets and I breathed in the air
I breathed in as hard as I could
I looked at the buildings and I felt all the history
And I did things I never would

And that is something I won’t ever forget

I caught the light-rail to catch a plane
But all I wanted to do was stay
In the Twin Cities I found a place
And I found a way

And that is something I won’t ever forget
Track Name: Feel So Much Better
I’ll beat you in two until you admit what it is you have done

And I feel so much better now you’ve gone

I see you for what you are and I don’t want to see you

And I feel so much better now you’ve gone

And all those times you held me back
Did you think I would forget?
About all those times you held me back
I did not forget

And I feel so much better now you’ve gone
Track Name: Everything To Me
I won’t be anything to you sometime soon
But you were everything to me this is true

My mind is running races
You’re such a pretty face
I need to find a place
You’re such a pretty face
I need to find a place

I won’t be anything to you sometime soon
But you were everything to me this is true

My mind is running races
You’re such a pretty face
I need to find a place
You’re such a pretty face
I need to find a place

I won’t be anything to you sometime soon
But you were everything to me this is true
You were everything to me
Track Name: Good Things
Like coffee through my brain
A bolt of lightning when it rains
That feeling you’re alive
And you know that you’ve survived.

She’s doing good things to my heart.

Like a bird in a tree
Or a lighthouse out at sea
Guiding ships to the shore
I won’t be lonely anymore

She’s doing good things to my heart

You wake up one day and she’s sleeping right by your side
Then she turns your way and you know everything will be all right

Like coffee through my brain
A bolt of lightning when it rains
That feeling you’re alive
And you know that you’ve survived

She’s doing good things to my heart

I won’t be lonely anymore

She’s doing good things to my heart
Track Name: Jennifer Don't Cry
Lightning fills the sky
We watched it strike from the bar inside
But I promise you it will clear up soon
And sometime soon so will you

Jennifer don’t cry

Save a seat for me in history
And take my notes for me when I can’t see
I owe you

Jennifer don’t cry

I hope you find that place where no one lies
But til then you can always count on me
You can count on me
Track Name: Credits Roll
I want to take you somewhere you haven’t been for a long time my dear
I know you need to drive real slow
We can take our time on this road

Lately you’ve been the one to show me how it should be
And I’ve been thinking about you, the whole night through
I’ve been thinking about you

When the lights come up, and the credits roll down
There you will be
On a blanket we see stars through the trees

Lately you’ve been the one to show me how it should be
And I’ve been thinking about you, the whole night through
I’ve been thinking about you
Track Name: Grey
The years pass you by
Still you dream every night
And in dreams you come to life
In dreams you’re by my side

One day I won’t forget
The worst pain I ever felt
That was the worst pain I ever felt

It was Thursday afternoon
It was August and it was too soon
And the sky turned so grey
It got so dark I thought it would never change

One day I won’t forget
The worst pain I ever felt
That was the worst pain I ever felt

I know that things change
I know life never stays the same
There is a hole in my heart that won’t let me forget

There are moments in my mind
There are days that are so kind
But sometimes those moments don’t help me
Sometimes those days get so lonely

One day I won’t forget
Track Name: Grand Plans
Your little place felt like home to me
Your little face was mine to see
When we were together the sky was always blue
But now I don’t know what I’m going to do

You told me I didn’t stand a chance
But you never got to see my grand plans

I would have flown across the world for you
I would have impressed everyone that I had to
But you stopped communicating and I didn’t have a clue
But now I don’t know what I ‘m going to do

You told me I didn’t stand a chance

But you never got to see my grand plans
Track Name: The Longest Weekend
The longest weekend of my life
I won’t get you out of my mind
I told you I understood but I lied

I lied

There is 72 hours to go
My mind races all the time
I told I would be all right but I lied

I lied

You travel so far and I await awake for you

The longest weekend of my life
I told you I understood but I lied

I lied
Track Name: Beside You
I will be beside you wherever you go
I hope you know