|Album Review: SG Lewis - times|
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Known for his signature crossover productions that span electronic, disco and pop, UK artist Sam Lewis AKA SG Lewis, has finally delivered his highly anticipated debut album times via Republic Records. Paying homage to the late 70s disco era, Lewis transports us back to sweaty dance floors with a star studded slew of collaborators in attendance.
Breaking through in 2016 with his debut EP Yours, Lewis is now an in demand producer behind some of music’s biggest hits including Khalid’s "Experience" and Dua Lipa’s "Hallucinate" as a result of his versatile and distinct ability to bridge the gap between electronic music and pop. Now, 2021 sees Lewis shine in his spotlight, returning as a solo artist in his own right, with a full body of work that fans have been desperately craving since his trio of EP’s Dusk, Dark and Dawn a few years ago.
Whilst records from Dua Lipa, Jessie Ware, Kylie, Doja Cat and more have seen a resurgence of disco within pop culture, SG Lewis has always incorporated its influences in all of his solo work. It now plays a huge part of his debut LP, with “Time” setting the tone for the length of the album. Rising vocalist Rhye features, introducing the party with soothing vocals that soar over beaming strings whilst pleading with listeners to make the most of the present moment, cherish those memories with friends on the dance floor before the sun comes up. With club doors currently closed in most parts of the world, “Time” resonates deeply as a strong reminder to never take those moments for granted.
Continuing the groove with Lucky Daye, “Feed The Fire” injects party flavours whilst "Back To Earth" is a ethereal journey of funky synth patterns with Disclosure style traits that orbit Lewis’ hazy vocal hooks making for an uplifting house addition to the LP. Meanwhile, “One More” welcomes disco royalty Nile Rodgers, who adds his soul drenched guitar riffs amongst Lewis’ lyrics that tell of the familiar yet distant feeling of how a night out unravels and how we wish it would never end.
Once again showcasing his versatility, “Heartbreak On The Dancefloor” alongside Frances caters for the pop orientated listener with Frances’ dreamy verses glistening across Lewis’ prominent percussion and 80s infused chords, capturing the essence of early pop culture whilst adding a modern twist. Shifting gear slightly, “Chemicals” boasts melodic synth builds and subtle riffs whilst Lewis’ humble vocals draw on nu-disco elements and indie tones that sit in a similar lane to Tame Impala, making for a solo standout on the album.
Robyn and Channel Tres grace “Impact” with force, delivering dance floor energy with complimentary yet contrasting vocals and hypnotic textures that soar across futuristic synth breakdowns and a funk fuelled bass, beckoning for the club. Meanwhile, “All We Have” with Aussie duo Lastlings delivers twinkling pad flurries and progressive drum rolls that underpin Lastlings’ euphoric harmonies. Closing track “Fall” acts as the inevitable night cap to wind down an unforgettable night glowing beneath the mirrorball, as Lewis’ vocals take centre stage for one more round of nostalgia in an ode to the era that defined his sought after sound.
Anchored to 70s disco reimagined for the modern day, SG Lewis’ times nods to clubs of the past, (particularly NYC’s early nightlife at The Loft and Paradise Garage) as well as the present as we reminisce of kindred sprits across packed club floors. A 10 track album originally crafted with the dance floor in mind, Lewis’ times takes on a whole new meaning doubling as a beacon of hope that urges us to cling hold of the brighter memories whilst waiting in the wings to soundtrack the post-pandemic parties yet to come.
SG Lewis times out now via Republic Records, buy / stream here