1. Far Across the Night Sky
2. Caledonia Dreaming
3. Hope (Love Never Dies)
Scottish teacher and singer-songwriter, Samuel Alexander Barbour’s folksy EP- entitled Hope (Love Never Dies) – is a colourful, eclectic homage to the vast scope of emotion that we experience in a lifetime.
Far Across the Night Sky opens the collection, its warm acoustics and the soft trill of chimes building the foundations of a beautiful lullaby. Borrowing metaphors from J.M Barrie’s Peter Pan, Barbour’s uplifting, clear, pleasant vocals guide the listener on an ethereal journey of self-acceptance. The song adopts a distinct musical theatre flavour, and whilst being written with children’s drama in mind, there is a starry-eyed simplicity for all ages to enjoy.
The following track, award-winning Caledonia Dreaming, is a nostalgic love letter to home. Rolling acoustics and harmonised vocals lament the bittersweet reality of homesickness, and how one’s roots will always be carried with them no matter where on Earth they travel. Caledonia is a romantic, poetic title for Barbour’s Scotland, its use here further reinforcing his deep and unwavering love for his country despite taking up residence in Hong Kong.
Moving further across the spectrum of feeling, title track Hope (Love Never Dies) is dedicated to Barbour’s late father. Acceptance of mortality is handled with a gentle touch as Barbour’s flowing cadence proves a friend and companion, detailing the painful act of comforting loved ones as they get closer to the end of their lives. Thematically, the song holds clear resemblances to I’ll Follow You into the Dark (Deathcab for Cutie) and Cancer (My Chemical Romance).
The love ballad of the album, Freefalling is a mellow, acoustic meandering through the process of falling for another. Melodic chords set the scene as Barbour encases the reader in a dreamlike world, the timid ebb and flow of the chorus reminiscent of the unexpected jitters of first love. The effect is both mature and infantile, reintroducing metal chimes to add a magical dusting of childish wonder to the adolescent world of blossoming romance.
Timecatcher ties off the EP with a beachy, tropical vibe. Still employing the genre of folk and easy listening, Barbour’s inclusion of wood percussion instruments generates a carefree ambience unique to this particular song. It is apparent that Timecatcher was written for children, radiating a sunny optimism which reflects the island-like musical setting.
Didactic lyrics allow Barbour to build a space where children- as well as adult children- can cast off their worries and adopt a brighter perspective on themselves and their lives.