Samantha Fish released her latest album, Faster, on September 10, 2021 via Rounder Records. The follow-up to 2019’s acclaimed Kill or Be Kind, Faster marks Fish’s first collaboration with producer Martin Kierszenbaum (Lady Gaga, Sting), who co-wrote eight of the album’s 12 new songs and helped the genre-defying guitarist, singer, and songwriter to refine her sound and strike out into bold new sonic territory.
“The whole record has a theme of taking charge and taking the reins, in a relationship or in life in general,” explains Fish. “I really thought that after 2020 I’d end up with a really dismal, bleak album, but instead, we came up with something that’s fun and sexy and so empowering.”
Faster opens on its spellbinding title track, a fiercely stomping number whose vocal hook states her intentions to “make your heart beat faster.” Immediately making good on that promise, she follows it up with “All Ice No Whiskey,” a pop-perfect powerhouse she considers something of a dare. That defiant spirit also infuses “Better Be Lonely,” a fantastically freewheeling track graced with a frenetic guitar solo.
While Faster never fails to showcase the gritty vitality of Fish’s musicianship, much of the album journeys into elegantly eclectic sonic terrain. One of Faster‘s most vulnerable moments, “Crowd Control” unfolds in delicate beats and shimmering keyboard tones, forming a dreamy backdrop to Fish’s self-reflection.
Featuring a guest spot from rapper/singer/songwriter Tech N9ne (who, like Fish and Kierszenbaum, hails from Kansas City), “Loud” drifts from doo-wop reverie to guitar-fueled frenzy.”He was perfect for ‘Loud,’ which is a song about speaking your truth as loud as you can,” says Fish. And on “Hypnotic,” Fish lays down a mesmerizing piece of R&B-pop, telegraphing unfettered desire in her seductive vocal delivery and lushly textured grooves. The album closes on a poignant note, with the stark and slow-burning ballad called “All the Words.”
Kierszenbaum, who contributed guitar, piano, keyboards, and percussion to the recording in addition to his production duties, enlisted an A-list rhythm section comprising legendary drummer Josh Freese (Guns N’ Roses, Nine Inch Nails, The Replacements) and bassist Diego Navaira of The Last Bandoleros for the session. Hannah Brier contributed backing vocals while GRAMMY-award winners Tony Lake and Robert Orton engineered and mixed, respectively.
For Fish, one of the greatest joys of making music is the powerful exchange of energy at her incendiary live shows. “Anytime I play live, I just want to want to make people forget about everything else in the world and feel that same joy that I feel on stage,” she says.
In the process of creating Faster, Fish experienced a similar exhilaration. “There’s such a transformation that can happen in the studio when you really own that freedom to be creative,” she says. “I feel so charged up in those moments, like I can be whoever I want to be. It’s just me and these incredible musicians trying to make a piece of art that speaks for itself and contributes something new to the world. It’s never hard to feel inspired or empowered when that’s the mission.”