Words by Keith Hadad
Sam Kogon is one hell of a talented musician and songwriter, and Before You Knew Me is one hell of a debut record.
Kogon, a young Brooklyn based musician, writes and plays songs like a missing member of The Kinks or a lost son of Harry Nilsson (grandson of Schmilsson, perhaps?) Each song on the album is rich with heavenly Beach Boys-esque harmonies, pleasing hooks and sweet melodies along with some incredibly catchy beats. The sound of the album is filled with jangly and sometimes lightly fuzzed guitars, atmospheric keyboards and diverse instrumentation such as a fluid-like violin and the occasional twinkling glockenspiel.
Each track here will get your foot tapping and your head bobbing, but “Odd” is just superb. It rocks with a youthful New Yorker swagger and is injected by a serious British Invasion influence. You can imagine Kogon recording the entire song with thick, dark sunglasses on.
Additionally, the swirling Ray Manzarek-like keyboard-lead instrumental, “Potential,” shows that Kogon and his backing group can jam with a tight precision while still burning with a wild energy.
It’s hard to walk away from Before You Knew Me feeling anything but happy. Each track is pleasant without being too saccharine, fun without being annoying and above all, very professionally written and performed. If this debut album is anything to go by, Kogon is one to follow and keep an eye on, as he will very likely produce many future masterpieces.
‘Before You Knew Me’
TheWaster.com | Odd