The Devil’s In The Detail is an album that works on several levels. The jaunty, uplifting musical style created with a fantastic trans-Atlantic teaming from Texan Hamilton and his British band mates, allows the listener to instantly dip into the tracks and enjoy them as pure sing along Americana tracks. Reminiscent of the best of Tom Petty or John Cougar Mellencamp with a healthy dash of Cheap Trick thrown in for good measure, the songs are perfect driving material. Windows down, volume up, annoying the old people sat on the benches by the sea as you drive past on the coastal roads, The Devil’s In The Detail flies past and you’re at the end of the album before you know it.
On another level, the lyrical content warrants a significant amount of in depth investigation. It’s obvious from opening track ‘Smarter’ and the follow up, ‘We Never Should Have Moved to LA’ suggest a much deeper train of thought looking at life issues and relationships. Lyrically, Hamilton cuts no corners and smart use of wording especially in the latter track gets the hard hitting point across. Check out the video below and keep an ear out in the chorus.
By track four, the album is firing on all cylinders and it’s at that point the band decide to breathe and deliver what feels like the stand out track and will be potentially the one to propel the band to greater things.
Having already had a reasonable amount of success in the US with the indie folk band Smile Smile and following it up with Bowling For Soup’s Jaret Reddick to create People on Vacation, ‘The Devil’s In The Detail’ feels like a culmination of all of the best ideas of what has come before from Ryan with track four, ‘Heavy Heart’, the end result. Taking a steer from the Eagles and how musicianship and vocal harmonies can lift a song to another place, Ryan and the band utilise the vocal skill of Scottish artist Chrissy Barnacle to great effect in the chorus. To steal from Spinal Tap and Nigel Tuffnel’s explanation as to why an amp needs to go to 11 and not 10, Chrissy takes the vocals in the chorus of ‘Heavy Heart’ and pushes everything “one louder”. What could have been a nice, mellow ballad, as a result, is transformed and I defy you not to constantly hit repeat on this fantastic track. It’s no surprise it’s been released as the second video from the album.
The combination of strong lyrical content and stirring melody prevail throughout the rest of the album with ‘The Gulf of Mexico’, ‘Cheaters Never Change’ and ‘Don’t Say I Told You So’, which includes a wonderful duet with Chrissy again, being the absolute highlights.
If you’ve yet to hear Ryan or any of his previous music, start here and work your way backwards. A solo album, ‘Hell of a Day’, released via Pledge Music, raised many eyebrows and garnered quite a following. It also enabled him to launch his own record label Fanny Pack Records, [or Bum Bag Discs as we’d call it in the UK] and it’s on this label that we see the current album being released.
A very successful support slot to Ginger Wildheart hoovered up fans in the UK during 2016 and that same fan base helped sell out a short heading tour recently as well. A live DVD of the recent London show is to follow shortly.
Ginger Wildheart can also be heard on lead guitar on the majority of tracks on the album which offers another unique selling point for the band as does the production, delivered by the ever reliable Dave Draper who’s managed to perfectly capture the sound and feeling that comes from the stage during one of their live shows.
If you think a slide of old school country mixed with pop rock, delivered by a Texan supported by a team of Brits might be for you…… then check this release out immediately. It might sound like a strange combo but fans of any of the artists mentioned above will soak this up like a dry sponge in monsoon season.
You can also hear new music from Ryan & Co. every moth thanks to the Traitors’ Club fan club.
The band are on tour in the UK again later this year.
Review by: Adrian Hextall