Ryan Hamilton is a Texan singer-songwriter better known for the indie folk stylings of Smile, Smile and People on Vacation, but here he has rolled out every pop cliché you have ever heard on this uber positive collection of jaw-aching happiness.
There’s an air of Boo Radleys about opening track ‘Be Kind, Rewind’ and a vague nod in the direction of Weezer’s left-field tribute to classic pop music (without the hard edge) on ‘4 Letter Verb’, with its teen movie soundtrack vibe; and although it’s all good fun, that’s about as alternative as it gets. There are a couple of riffs on ‘Medicine’ and ‘Records and Needles’ but they make Boston look like Slayer.
So, what’s essentially on offer is pop songs by numbers, using every trick in the Brian Wilson book of pop cliché – and therein lies its curious charm. If you don’t take it too seriously, it’s surprisingly enjoyable. ‘Respond to my Email’ has the wonderfully tongue in cheek chorus of “Respond to my email you bitch / I rewrote it ten times before it was sent /I know you can check it / you’ve got an iPhone and a Macbook Chrome.” Ryan takes his positivity to newfound levels on ‘Freak Flag’, which is just so goddamn nice that it’s impossible to take seriously.
The predictably upbeat ‘Love is Such a Chore’ is full of "doo doos” to get you humming along and like ‘I Love you a Lot’, it has an inexplicable charm. The incredibly nice ‘Karaoke with no Crowd’ is precisely that and ‘Take it on the Run’ is all acoustic strumming and climactic piano – watch out Bon Jovi!
Ok, so it’s all frighteningly familiar and even makes Fifth Harmony look hard, but hey who cares? It’s all good fun, even if it is vomitably happy clappy. Lighten up, play it next time you get drunk with your mum.
‘Hell Of A Day’ by Ryan Hamilton is out now.
Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)