Sam Fender may be the last great songwriter we ever bear witness to, at least that is the sense given off by his highly-anticipated debut album. Preceded by an EP, Dead Boys, and a series of singles that detailed friends lost to suicide, chilling dystopias, and mutually-shared destruction, Hypersonic Missiles proves that the British artist has not run out of cataclysmic visions to transform into wholly stirring song.
Throughout Hypersonic Missiles’ thirteen-track run, Fender moves at an incredible pace, launching between revitalized Brit-pop and classic Brit-rock, as if the very visions he is singing of are nipping at his heels. The result is a debut album that seeks to tackle much of the world’s and Fender’s own personal woes. Yet, the real ingenious tightrope act on display here is how Hypersonic Missiles does it all without ever feeling overburdened by its weighty themes.
More often than not, you will come upon tracks that have no right appearing as jubilant and carefree as they do. The titular “Hypersonic Missiles” is a prime example, finding a sense of joy in the face of overwhelming hopeless. Then there’s “Will We Talk?,” which, in transforming a possible one-night stand into a grandiose love story, arrives as yet another testament to the multi-faceted approach he has taken to his debut. It may be better to describe Fender as not a salient messenger detailing a dystopia at our doorsteps, but a transcendent songwriter capable of placing a sort of sonic silver lining on his nigh-apocalyptic messages.
In the short time since first making his debut in 2017, Fender has been heralded as all manner of things–the next Bruce Springsteen, the next big thing in Brit-pop, one of the only true songwriters we have left. And with Hypersonic Missiles, Fender positions himself as the voice of a generation on the brink, shouting into the abyss enthralling proclamations of nuclear fallout, encroaching dystopia, and astonishing joy.
Listen to Hypersonic Missiles below: