Budding singer-songwriter Sam Kaiser’s first EP Different Fires is like a breath of fresh air.
For those looking to escape the “sound pollution” of songs reliant on heavy dance beats or less-than-wholesome lyrics, the 18 year-old’s stripped-down tracks are a welcome change of pace. Inspired by Kaiser’s own life experiences such as moving from Hong Kong to study abroad in Canada, the songs on the EP capture the feelings of “a place that is familiar, but isn’t home”.
Calm, soothing, and reminiscent of campfire tunes (in a good way!), the songs on his debut EP are bound together by warm acoustics, Kaiser’s charming twang and a subtle nod to the great outdoors. Themes of love, longing, and hope are intermingled with melodic fingerpicking and mellow chord progressions. Despite the bare-bones production, Kaiser succeeds in captivating listeners through his gift of sonic storytelling. It’s a beautiful thing when a singular voice and instrument have the power to elicit different feel-good vibes throughout the course of six songs, but Kaiser achieves just that. We experience the breezy and carefree adventure behind “Nature’s Fair” and soulful yearning of “Different Fires”. From being serenaded by a romantic ballad under the night sky in “Old Stars” to jamming out in the car to the uplifting chorus of “Rising”, there is still that sense of serenity that carries throughout the entirety of the EP.
It’s a rarity for songs to actually encourage me to leave the comfort of my home to go out and explore the wild unknown, but this is an exception. The next time I find myself on a road trip, Different Fires EP will find itself on the top of my playlist. It’s definitely simplicity at its best.