SASAMI’s ‘Squeeze’ offers explosive experimentation with dynamic, defiant sound

Darren Puccala, Life and Arts reporter

SASAMI, a 31-year-old singer-songwriter out of California, wants fans to proudly and unapologetically accept her mantra — to “just say it” — with her new album “Squeeze,” released on Feb. 25. Three years since the release of her critically acclaimed debut album, SASAMI’s “Squeeze” builds on what made fans love SASAMI — a vulnerable indie sound with elements of shoegaze and synths — while simultaneously exploring untapped aggression through a plunge into nu-metal. 

On “Skin A Rat,” the opening track on the album, SASAMI embraces finding a place for herself in the new genre, instantly making an impact. Her approach on “Skin A Rat,” predicated on leaving very little time to breathe with almost intrusive guitar riffs, immediately captivates listeners with a truly wild vocal performance. She keeps up the energy with the third track, “Say It,” in which the lyrics embrace the central idea of pushing forward without hesitation, accompanied by instrumentals that feel straight from the mid-1990s. 

Songs like “Skin A Rat” and “Say It” feel powerful in contrast to songs like “Call Me Home” and “Tried To Understand.” “Call Me Home” embraces the vulnerable side of SASAMI on this record, which both conflicts and completes the record’s more aggressive unapologetic side. The chorus has a grandiose feel to it, making the song an instant standout more memorable after each listen.

“Tried to Understand” reflects the artist’s inability to comprehend how her partner could continuously push her away at every turn despite her best attempts at piecing their relationship together. With a folk-influenced vocal delivery, SASAMI recounts the story of meeting someone, falling in love and how it all came burning down.

While SASAMI’s attempt to jump head first into nu-metal is admiral and a successful beginning, there are still ways in which “Squeeze” feels as though it is merely imitating the same sounds without actually building upon them in a unique way. One example is “Need It To Work” which starts strong, but the repetition of the instrumentals combined with very simple lyrics brings the album to a halt. 

The 32-minute album comes to end with “Not A Love Song,” a moving rock anthem that epitomizes SASAMI’s anger and pain. Despite leaving most lyrics ambiguous, SASAMI clearly attempts to persuade fans to accept who they are without forcing them to conform to societal norms. 

In her attempt to push forward into a completely new genre, on “Squeeze,” SASAMI vocally embraces her strengths and, more importantly, her weaknesses. Despite its faults, this album deserves a listen from any metal or prior SASAMI fan.

 

3.5 Skinned Rats out of 5