The following statement will surely annoy Sean Kelly's cultish supporters: The Samples are long past their prime. The folk-pop outfit used
to be a Colorado foursome offering summery, wistful shades of what a post-Synchronicity
Police might have sounded like. Up through 1996's major- label effort Outpost
, the band's organic interplay and Kelly's songwriting style made them darlings of Phishy neo-hippies everywhere. But apparently, MCA didn't offer up appropriate A&R and financial support for the band, causing rifts to form between members.
After Outpost, Kelly's supporting cast completely turned over, and like Axl Rose's current version of Guns N' Roses, the revised Samples were certainly capable, well-rehearsed, and steady enough to deliver the goods, but the magic from the early work was largely absent. Sure, the group's 2004 album Black & White and 2005's Rehearsing for Life made great strides in righting the ship, but about all that remains of this group's heyday is its incessant touring itinerary.