Album Review: “If We Had Known” by Sara Ayers and Jeff Sampson

ALBANY – On August 1st, Sara Ayers and Jeff Sampson released the album, If We Had Known, which can be best described by this listener as a mysteriously contemplative, dark, and ambient effort. The record, which contained work from past releases, such as the first song, “Thrice Thy Heart Shall Broken Be.” While this was largely outside of what this listener typically listens to, there were several ear-grabbing moments.

album cover sara

Take for instance, “Circle of Fits” (track two), whose name I might wager to be a pun on the musical term, circle of fifths. The track, like all others on this album was incredibly slow, but featured a male vocal that extremely reminded me of Peter Gabriel during the So album era. The subject material in this album and especially this song was particularly eerie. While other songs, such as the title track, “If We Had Known” (track three), carried on with this type of lamenting vocal, there were other tracks that showed glimpses of optimistic feelings of comfort.

“The Lost Room,” track five, served as a great example of this concept with its lyric, “I was waiting for you to find me. I was reaching for your hand to guide me home. Now, I sink into his silent comfort and mutely stand beside his throne.” Sara’s vocal inflections, which were seemingly influenced by Irish and otherwise Celtic-styled sounds, perfectly fit this song. The ticking in this song reminded me of a type of wall clock, and interestingly enough was the only part on the album that wasn’t a synth pad or ambient vocal.

In my view, the closing track, which is a remix of the first, felt like an unnecessary inclusion. Nevertheless, Sara Ayers and Jeff Sampson have released an album that I feel would be best enjoyed with headphones, listening by yourself. The synth pads act as a bed that allow your mind to wander, and bring about a sense of peace and calm. Take the trip for yourself by clicking on the link below.

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