You (Understood)

Samantha Crain

There’s freedom in Samantha Crain’s daring that mirrors a Midwestern horizon. As the eye travels, so too does Crain’s crooning: at once lithesome yet powerful, with elastic vowels flung about like tornado debris. It’s hard not to sweat listening to “Equinox,” where her fearless, forceful voice cuts a swath through the inner ear. Yet Crain possess a certain vulnerability that keeps her welcomingly grounded, like a lightning rod speared deep into the plains. “We are the Same” highlights a sweeping openness that’s pure vocal hypnotism. A 23-year-old Native American from Oklahoma, Crain mixes a Midwestern-influenced blend of rock with folk and indie elements on this mature second offering. On songs like “Holdin’ That Wheel,” she matches whipping dynamic riffs from electric guitar with her undeniably commanding voice. As if drawing from the ghost of Woody Guthrie, Crain’s lyrical narratives often speak of angst and change. On “Blueprints,” for example, Crain writes “I know we all need some control,” then reassures us that “Being lost is nothing to be ashamed of.”