Sam Kogon, “I Could Never”

Amelia Pitcherella

Photo by Marina Zarya.

Brooklyn-via-Syracuse’s Sam Kogon is pretty young, and it was not too long ago that he fronted a couple of college bands out of Syracuse, but his music feels like the work of someone who’s been around a lot longer. It’s apparent from the few songs he released back in February that he has a penchant for folk rock and psychedelia, but his sound is rarely derivative. On the contrary, it seems he’s cultivated an enviable maturity and ease.

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“I Could Never” will feel vaguely familiar within a few seconds’ listening, registering a bent towards the paisley underground. Whether it’s the clean jangle of the guitars or Kogon’s vocals, which tempt a comparison to Gene Clark, the track is nostalgic in the best possible sense. The steady country sway at the outset of the song gives way to a jingling uptempo section that feels like it belongs on a Beach Boys track, moving into a heavier psychedelic zone before gliding back into the original riff. All the while Kogon’s voice has a gentle lilt, and when he hits the high notes on the line “You’re so good to me,” it’s touching. Kogon has ultimately made a song about love, and he’s done it by meshing together all the steadiness and giddiness that this entails in a way that’s both sincere and memorable.

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