To the attuned listener, Samantha Savage Smith’s songs will conjure a picture of sureness amid chaos, of stability within motion. They’re stones skittering across the pond, rocketing but rocks nonetheless, and ones sure of their course. When the Twin Reverb spires of guitar moan and the snare cracks, she conducts always and with confidence, less than an inch from the microphone. Examples of this competence – this intricate skill – crop up with uncanny frequency as Fine Lines, the singer’s second full length, whirls past.
The title track is sonic hopscotch, pure and easy. The drum pattern – that drum pattern – runs along like the bratty, insistent counterpoint chant to Smith’s skipping, daggering melody. That control she’s capable of maintaining in the swirl of instrumentation is doubly present here, weaving a needlepoint melody over and through the fabric of the tune.
The best execution of this ability, however, lands with ‘Til We Are Found. It’s a cosmic prom anthem. Propelled by affectionately strummed eighth notes and a pocketful-of-change-tambourine, its melody is the stoic face that masks a hammering heart. Stillness and motion.
This collection crests with the undeniable Habit Forming. Here Savage Smith finds an almost uncharacteristically tender nook of her timbre and, for a perfect three minutes, coos a lament that could and should easily transcend the barrier between a Calgary basement and primetime placement – an increasingly fine line when we’re messing with a talent of this stature.