Vinyl Corner is a feature where we take a look at vinyl pressings of various albums and weigh them up to see just how good they sound, how well they’re pressed and what sort of packaging to expect – as well as giving a brief overview of the music itself. Today we’re rating the New West Records vinyl release of Sammy Brue’s recent debut album ‘I Am Nice’.
A collection of buoyant indie-folk tunes written with the sharp ear of a populist, Sammy Brue’s debut is one shot through with smart, well executed retro touches. Between the sharp hand-claps of ‘Covered In Blood’ and the sighing, Beatles-esque backing vocals found throughout, ‘I Am Nice’ is certainly a record made with an old-school attitude. There’s a charm to the arrangements throughout the album and the production befits the album’s retro-revivalist credentials.
Pressed on 150g black wax, this is a great little pressing that sounds excellent and manages to give the sort of space and clarity needed for such an album. As with all New West Records releases that we’ve heard, the noise floor is very low here and the album is an easy listen free of erroneous noise. Both sides clock in at a tidy runtime which is substantial enough to feel satisfying but short enough to not risk a lessening in sound quality. The album’s mix is clear and the vinyl mastering lives up to this with a clean, classy soundscape which accentuates Brue’s guitar and vocal parts, but not at the cost of the album’s other components.
Packaging and presentation is relatively humble but well executed here and certainly meets expectations given the album’s relatively low $18 pricetag. The non-gatefold sleeve is printed on midweight card but print definition is sharp and focused and the spine, although thin, isn’t hard to locate mainly thanks to its unusual purple colouring and high impact font choice. The record comes housed in a printed paper inner sleeve adorned with lyrics to the full album, in addition to another shot of Brue. It’s a welcome inclusion, certainly, but as with all such sleeves it’s advisable to store the record in a more protective sleeve for normal use. The labels are perhaps a tad on the plain side but certainly convey all needed information (both side indicators and track listing are present here, a useful touch that too many modern releases forget about) and overall the presentation is pleasing if understated and certainly gives a slick accompaniment to the music itself.
‘I Am Nice’ has received an excellent pressing here; playback is quiet throughout and the soundscape is well defined with accomplished vinyl mastering that brings out the best in the music. Presentation is simple but effective and overall this is a really solid release priced more than reasonably.