Sam Valdez, “Take Care”
LA-based, Nevada-bred songwriter Sam Valdez is a wonderfully uncomplicated individual. She’s enchanting, soft-spoken, and incredibly easy to listen to. Her debut album Take Care is evidence of all three of those traits, blending airy vocals with atmospheric reverb (lots of it) to create an indie pop experience that’s decidedly Californian.
For better or for worse, all of the tracks on Take Care are similar from both musical and lyrical perspectives—it truly is a cohesive album of similarly constructed arrangements. On “Drag,” Valdez floats alongside a sleepy, celestial piano, a vibe complemented nicely by the bouncy and lush “California” and the loopily melodic “For a While.” While some of the included tracks blend together in a somewhat repetitive fashion, Valdez’s foundation is a solid one—lush, warm, and evocative. Elsewhere, “Palms Casino” evokes shades of comfortable twilight, a profound atmosphere only rivaled by the record’s measured conclusion, the blowy and romantic “Clean.”
At times, it seems like Valdez is reaching for something more, but stops just short of fully exploring what could be a delightfully experimental saunter. As such, it would’ve been nice to see Valdez go a little bit further with some of the instrumentation on the record; instead of the same blingy guitar-driven structures being used as the foundation of every track, a more diverse palette of sounds would have benefited her, especially during some of the more dry moments (“Drive”). Granted, this is her debut full-length effort, so most of her more ambitious ideas are likely still in need of fleshing out.
All in all, Take Care is largely an exercise of one thing and one thing only: tempered, reverb-drenched indie pop. Lucky for Valdez, it’s a space she excels in. Without much deliberation, it’s pleasant, bright, and perfect for what could be an invigoratingly free summer.