The Upshot: A breathless onslaught of guitars, synths, anguished vocals and rhythms, each racing towards an undefined goal with passion and persistence.
BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
With the opening wail of the appropriately named “Synth Driver,” American Babies, the driving vehicle for Philly-based multi-instrumentalist Tom Hamilton (not to be confused with the Aerosmith guitarist of the same name), establish an epic purpose reflecting all the drama and desire suggested by the album title itself. Full of flash, fury and soaring intent, An Epic Battle Between Dark and Light comes across as just that, a breathless onslaught of guitars, synths, anguished vocals and rhythms, each racing towards an undefined goal with passion and persistence.
On occasion, Hamilton and company get mired in an instrumental mishmash (“Not in a Million Years”), but on the dizzying and ever shifting “Fever Dreams” they pull out all the stops, shifting tone and tempos at will. “Musically, I wanted to get back to the basics” Hamilton explained in a press release, and while high strung epochs like “Oh Darling, My Darling” and “Alone in the House” are hardly simple or straightforward by any definition, the ambition and execution are mighty impressive regardless.
Only eight songs long, the album still feels massive in every way, leading to the suspicion that if it was any longer it would simply be way too much to absorb. “It’s a 40-minute existential meltdown,” Hamilton asserts later in the aforementioned statement, and after only a single listen, there’s no way not to agree.
DOWNLOAD: “Fever Dreams,” “Oh Darling, My Darling”