‘The Borders’ is a collision of energy and melody, a sublime pop song replete with euphoric sax and vocal grit.
It’s Sam Fender’s most exuberant track to date, a world away from the militant stomp of ‘Play God’. The Borders in the song is actually a pub in North Shields, as opposed to the literal, and speaking from experience someone getting glassed there would constitute a generally quiet and uneventful night.
The constant chugging riff and krautrockish beat isn’t so much ‘Autobahn’ as ‘Under The Pressure’ by The War On Drugs. It’s an epic about the ordinary, a symphony for streetlife. Fender can sound jaded and hopeful at the same time, and while to him the world is unfair and life a struggle, he can’t help but perceive it wide-eyed, and so while ‘The Borders’ has no happy ending (or any ending really) it feels triumphant and valedictory, almost in spite of the harsh truth.
It’s a pretty clear riff on Springsteen in full ‘Born to Run’ mode, but Fender is able to tap into what he did so well: telling a story through a series of richly detailed vignettes. ‘The Borders’ chronicles two boys dove-tailed in working class struggle: absent parents, drink and pills, depression. It’s brutal and beautiful and shines like a black eye.
Follow Sam Fender here.