Slam Band and Sam – Black Hole (Spotify)

“When six artists work together in a song, the result cannot be dissapointing! Find your favourite Soft Rock sounds mixed together in a song that can attract like magnet in a very effective way. Let the instrumental notes feed your imagination and relax.”

Slam Band & Sam’s newest single sees the band taking a big step forward when the world around them seems to be spinning more out of control than ever. It’s called Black Hole, and it was initially inspired by NASA’s groundbreaking black hole photos in April 2019; however, singer/lyricist Adam Vasko sees it now as a functioning parable for hard times – for when your circumstances suck you in and make positivity harder and harder to exude.

It’s a step forward for Pittsburgh’s Slam Band in more ways than one. They’ve now introduced keyboardist Dave Carrera into the band – a change that’s caused a noticeable, fiery upheaval in their sound. His synth, Rhodes, and organ work adds inimitable textural layers rarely heard within the pantheon of East Coast jazz and blues-rock, and “Black Hole” is no exception, featuring cascading, intergalactic synth noises that fill post-chorus pauses like a cosmic fermata.

The song is more experimental than their past work, too, incorporating ever more brass and slap bass than before as the backing vocals trickle in and out in soft “oohs” behind Vasko’s raucous celestial deliberations. A closer listen to the lyrics unshrouds a newly distinct brand of introspection, examining important choices in the face of hardships. What does it mean to choose kindness? Too choose to keep moving when it feels like you’re paralyzed? To choose to keep your head up?

The band has been through some hard times, collectively and individually, and it leaks (perhaps unconsciously) into the song. Interpersonal turmoil, family members getting sick, loss, and grief – it’s all there, but, despite this “Black Hole” is relentlessly energetic; a call for listeners to hang in there and to shrug off the negatives whenever possible.

Reviewed by Nagamag on March 8, 2021