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.

“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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