HGR CD Review: American Babies

AMERICAN BABIES – KNIVES AND TEETH (The Royal Potato Family) Formed in 2007, American Babies is the band vehicle for singer/songwriter/guitarist Tom Hamilton to explore, experiment and indulge his song creations. On their latest full-length album, Knives and Teeth, Hamilton shares feelings and observations on a myriad of life situations, set against a multi-tiered musical backdrop that fuses together rock, folk, punk, worldbeat, blues and more. Hamilton offers an edgy, witty writing and singing style that recalls classic Lou Reed, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty; and his wordsmith skills successfully communicate the personal messages and themes conveyed through the disc’s ten songs. Coloring the songs is Hamilton’s core cast of keyboardist Adam Flicker and drummer David Butler, plus a number of guest performers and backing singers. Opening the disc on a hopeful note is the worldbeat-toned “When I Build My Fortune,” a song about sharing lessons learned. The folksy “This Thing Ain’t Going Nowheres” ponders accountability and the concept of ‘no deposit-no return,’ while the rootsy “They Sing ‘Old Time Religion’” examines spirituality and setting one’s own moral compass. American Babies plays the tattletale on the shadowy “”Cold Blooded,” dodges being the target on the rollicking “Bullseye Blues,” and rails against mass media agendas on the harder-hitting “Fire Sale.” The melodies are catchy and captivating, and American Babies changes up the flavors for each track, keeping the disc interesting from start to end. Produced by Hamilton, the songs are cleverly arranged, and the mixes are balanced and busy for each song. Knives and Teeth is an engaging listen, as American Babies provides edgy, intelligent songs and multiple angles of attack. (The CD can be obtained through the group’s website, www.americanbabies.net.)