Ryan Hamilton & the Harlequin Ghosts is a transatlantic collaboration, with frontman Ryan Hamilton hailing from just outside of Fort Worth, TX, while his backing band The Harlequin Ghosts are based in the U.K. The follow up to 2019’s This Is The Sound (which won an Independent Music Award for Best Indie Album’), Nowhere To Go But Everywhere was written by Ryan during a long road trip across the USA with his dog Peaches, while coming to terms with his recent divorce.
Based on publicity photographs, Hamilton looks like a millennial. Thus, his musical choices are very odd for someone that age. Real instruments, no autotune and compositions clearly influenced by the 1960s and 1970s. Which makes me wonder if Hamilton’s schtick is all a gimmick. What musician in his or her right mind would want to create ‘irrelevant’ music in 2020?
A cursory listen to Hamilton’s new album – Nowhere to go but Everywhere – will make you do a double take to re-examine the release date. Elements of country-folk, rock n’ roll and ‘classic’ pop abound on the eleven songs here. It’s hard to imagine any modern pop radio stations wanting to play any of these songs. In addition, classic rock radio stations might also give this a miss because it is new!
Which highlights the ridiculous situation we find ourselves in 2020. Nowhere to go but Everywhere deserves to be judged on its own merits and not on whether the music style is relevant or not in 2020. So listen without prejudice and you will find an album of well-crafted melodies with suitable arrangements backed by competent performances.
Songs like “Only A Dream”, “Oh No” and “Jesus and John Lennon” (and others) feature enough musical cues to a bygone era that must earn acceptance amongst the jaded pop-rock fan that laments that nothing new is good. Recommended listening!
… still there’s more …