American Babies An Epic Battle Between Light And Dark on LP
American Babies is the pseudonym under which Philadelphia-based songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Tom Hamilton can be found creating his most personal and idiosyncratic work. Known for his relentless creative drive, Hamilton also shares his time with bands including Joe Russo's Almost Dead, Billy & The Kids (featuring Grateful Dead drummer Billy Kreutzmann) and Electron. It's American Babies, however, that's the home to which he always returns.
And thus Hamilton is back once again with American Babies' fourth studio album, An Epic Battle Between Light And Dark. True to its title, the songs assembled for this latest effort seem to define epic in sound and spirit. The opening track "Synth Driver" is a sprawling, seven minute-plus, War On Drugs-meets-Springsteen surge that's spills over with despair, but finds hope in its darkest hours.
"Oh Darling, My Darling" boasts eerie, soulful harmonies and a keening guitar solo reminiscent of Pink Floyd. "What Does It Mean To Be" is an exquisite example of Bowie-esque glam-funk. The brisk "Fever Dreams" starts and ends with horn-peppered twang-rock, but boasts a sparse, pedal steel-augmented bridge that's straight-up vintage country, while the instrumental "Not In A Million Years" segues from zoned-out psychedelic rhythms into a hard-charging coda.
And yet with all of it's wide-ranging sonic hue and lyrical depth, these eight songs form a remarkably cohesive statement. Shapeshifting between Americana, psych-tinged indie and vintage rock, An Epic Battle Between Light And Dark proves Tom Hamilton's American Babies to be one of this generation's most consistently compelling musical endeavors.