With his debut single, Jordan-born, London-based crooner Ziyad Al-Samman has got the rare kind of song on his hands that feels like it has been a cult classic for sixty years, but is in fact brand new. ‘Dark Horse’ is a sweet and sleazy ballad that showcases Al- Samman’s sultry voice and his penchant for simple yet touching lyrics.
Initially cutting his teeth in a variety of London bands, Al-Samman now emerges as a solo artist with a fully formed vision of his artistic identity. In ‘Dark Horse’, released by Handsome Dad Records, we meet a lover longing for forgiveness and romance. There also seems to be something sinister here, with Al-Samman – his looks reminiscent of Zappa in his best days – nodding to capricious crooners from the past, such as Lee Hazlewood, Dion and even a little Elvis.
There’s also more modern influences at play here, however, mainly in the hazy echoes of psychedelic pop that enable Al-Samman – whose voice evokes Damon Albarn’s at times – to turn ‘Dark Horse’ into a melancholic, cinematic experience. The song, the first Al-Samman wrote on piano, contains sparse layers of synthesizers that pave the way for some lush guitar strumming in the impassioned choruses.
The new issue of So Young is out now. You can grab your copy in print from the shop or read the digital edition below.