Get Ready Knox Hamilton fans. The band will release their LP The Heights on March 10th and it is a delightful romp for the most part from start to finish. Sunny, even when talking about dark subjects.
The album opens strong with “We Get Back.” The instrumentals on their own with a driving percussion are downright infectious. If this track had no lyrics it would still be a hit in this reviewers eyes with its sort of a throwback surf rock chill vibe. Lead singer Boots Copeland is full of bouncing energy from note one and that enthusiasm never ends. The content of the track, when one examines the lyrics, may seem to be dark as Copeland sings “How did you know we were breaking it off too soon?” a phrase that is repeated several times throughout the tune. But it is actually quite the positive song as Copeland states “you’re not gonna be dragging me down this time.” Copeland has been through enough and he is not going to take it anymore. This is a song for anyone who has ever had to take a stand in their relationship, or for anyone who just wants to dance around their bedroom to a spectacular tune. It’s a great way to start the album off and really sets the tone for the following numbers.
“Work It Out” is full of pounding instrumentation mixed in with a childlike innocence. No doubt about it, it is the catchiest song on the album, the one that is begging the most to be played on radio stations. It fits into the pop genre but also tows the alternative line giving the track a wider appeal. Fast paced with beachy vibes Copeland’s breathy yet commanding vocals will make listeners want to stop whatever they are doing and throw a dance party, even if it is just for one. The chorus is simple, but sometimes the genius in a song is found in its simplicity as is the case here. Once again the subject may seem a bit dark as Copeland opens with “I know how you’re feeling when you’re breaking my heart” but by the chorus as he repeats “I know we can work it out” one can’t help but smile. It’s the type of song that radiates a good feeling vibe throughout, fun and just pure music gold. This is where Knox Hamilton excels and they prove it here effortlessly.
Another highlight of the album is the cover of the 60s song “Never My Love” made famous by The Association. Knox Hamilton’s approach to making the song new still holds a retro vibe but just with a different decade. Sped up from The Associations ballad version, this incarnation borrows a bit of the synth 80s feel and it works. The signature melody is still clear and listeners who are familiar with the original will be able to recognize the song in its new form, but there are enough changes to make the song feel fresh. It’s not quite as dreamy and surreal as the 60s version but it has plenty new appeal in this arrangement which employs the electronic sound to update the pop hit into something Knox Hamilton can call their own. If you have not heard The Associations version one can still enjoy this tune fully in 2017, proving that good songs no matter what decade they are written have the ability to be timeless.
There are a few small let downs on the album such as “Washed Up Together” which doesn’t hold up compared to the rest of the LP and “Rightfully So” which gets lost in the shuffle. Neither are terrible songs but they don’t particularly stand out. Still there are far more terrific tracks on the album such as “Sight for Sore Eyes” and “The Heights,” so keep on listening because this LP is a winner.