Hours And Hours And Ours And Yours: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 120

Richard Hamilton - Kiss Touch 2000 - Tetryon Tapes - 9 songs - cassette, digital

This is now the second album from the ever-prolific Ricky/Richard Hamilton (stay tuned, a review of the third album will be in these pages soon). As I mentioned in my review of his previous work, "My Perfect World," I'm not sure whether you'd count this as his second, third, or fifth solo album, but I consider Richard Hamilton to be a separate project from works released as Ricky Hamilton, so I'm calling it his second. It definitely continues the general sound of "My Perfect World," although this one finds R.H. back to recording by himself without any extra musicians (supposedly– more on the credits of this thing in a minute). With these records under the Richard name, he's really gone wholeheartedly into ultra-hooky pop rock and once again he pulls it off on this tape. "My Very Own (Brooke Davis)" is a great opener (Brooke Davis is a character from One Tree Hill, I'm told, so if that grabs your attention maybe you'll know what he's talking about more than I do) and he's really elevated the already decent tune with some excellent little attention-grabbers: the synth line that sometimes seems completely dissonant (but in a good way) and sometimes sounds like a harmonica; the guitar lead towards the end that comes in with some mandolin-like tremolo picking. As bad as a song called "Kissing And Dreaming" should rightfully be, our friend Ricky somehow pulls it off and turns it into a good track. While "Playing The Fool Again" feels like it goes on forever, it's a good melancholy one and so it earns its place on here. I like the sorta backhanded lyrics of "Miss Ventura Country"; while it's undoubtedly an ode to the title character, there are a few rather snippy lines that are kinda reminiscent of "Bye Bye Love" by The Cars (a band I know Ricky is a fan of). There's a few covers on here as well: the Lee Hazlewood classic "Houston" (made famous by Dean Martin), which R.H. changes the beat of and in doing so alters it from country pop to his dreamy, jangly alternative pop sound in a way that works surprisingly well; Squeeze's classic tragedy "Up The Junction," which gets renamed "Up The Pavement" for some reason even though the lyrics remain unchanged (and we get a return of the classic Richard Hamilton faux-British accent); and "Go Ask Your Man," which I think is a Bob Lind song and finds Richard Hamilton at his most nasal, albeit in a way that kinda works for the song. Strangely enough, the credits on here say "all songs written by Richard Hamilton." I'm gonna assume this was an oversight as I certainly don't think Ricky is dishonest enough (or obtuse enough) that he would try to take credit for songs as popular as the ones he covers on here. I mean, there's not even a track list on this thing (I had to get it from Bandcamp), so I'm assuming it was just kinda hastily thrown together and that slipped through. In any case, another success for Richard Hamilton with this one. 4/5

(qualitytimerecords.bandcamp.com for digital, feralkidrecords.storenvy.com for the tape)

Suitor - Communion - Just Because Records - 10 songs - cassette, digital

I'm not entirely sure what the background is with this band (research is dead), but it's a new group and this is their debut release. Suitor's music is a very '80s-inspired mix of post-punk, new wave, and synthpop (with little hints of goth and what I believe the kids call dance punk sprinkled in). Usually I think bands that do this kind of thing are pretty dull, but I ended up liking this tape quite a bit. The songs are full of hooks, the instrumental performances are decent and have some pretty neat parts (that extended guitar break at the end of "Dagger" in particular comes to mind), and the vocal melodies are strong. The title track is excellent, especially with the change from the sorta gothy verses into the soaring choruses– what the singer's voice (I think her name is Emma– no credits were included with this release) does there is really cool. Other highlights were "Spectator," with some particularly great layered vocals; "How Do I Know You're There," which has the slight funkiness and slight discordance of the artsier side of early '80s new wave with talk-sung vocals on the verse and a good bridge; and "Waitress," which is the most punk they get on here, though it has a slow part that's pretty cool too. Nice artwork as well and even the download code matches the theme. A very strong debut. 4/5


Are you a local-ish band? Do you have a record out? Email vaguelythreatening@gmail.com or send it directly to the Observer: PO Box 770203, Lakewood, OH 44107.

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Volume 17, Issue 23, Posted 2:04 PM, 11.17.2021