Words By Emily Hollitt.
Hamish Anderson took a very classic rock approach with his latest ‘Out of my Head’ album, due to hit all platforms May 3rd. The album creates an accessible landscape of sounds suitable for all listeners, incorporating a whole lot of rock, a bit of blues, Americana, soul, pop and everything in between. Every track feels like the ideal good mood road trip type song, cruisy, fun and the very essence of rock in it’s very core form. Currently touring his tracks with Gary Clark Jr. as his main support, Anderson is quickly gaining attention in the industry, and based on this album we can see exactly why.
No Good starts the album, and there’s nothing no good about it. The opening chords completely entice the listener, as Hamish presents a delicacy in his voice. His fragile vibrato shines through amongst the harsh, over-driven guitars and steady rock beat as he wails about an unhealthy relationship he has found the strength to leave. Breaking Down follows where he drops his electric for a hard hitting acoustic, featuring a super blues-y solo and some powerful soul organ as he preaches “If you need someone to let you down, I won’t be around”. The album continues on a more sensitive note with What You Do To Me, the love song that every great rock album needs. His guitar playing is highlighted again here, solidifying himself as just as much a great guitarist as he is a songwriter. Vocal production takes it up a bit more with this one as well, with greater focus on backing vocals and harmony, giving it a great cruisy soul/rock feel.
In the words of Christopher Walken “I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell!”, and Anderson definitely delivered with You Give Me Something, featuring a LOT of cowbell in the chorus. This track revitalises the heavier grungy blues/rock feel, before title track Out of my Head, which seems to draw a huge chunk of inspiration from The Beatles, with the minimal yet interesting instrumental production and coolly delivered vocals. This influence continues into The Fall, adding flute into the instrumentation, drawing off the Baroque and Chamber Pop aspect of Beatles music and creating a great contrast to the rest of the album. The flute sections and the organ acts in an almost call-and-response kind of way, while falling in and out of each other harmonically, demonstrating simple yet very intriguing arrangement choices.
Damaged Goods springs up seemingly out of nowhere. “Sometimes you have to lose just to stay alive”, he coos, tearing your heart up yet comforting you at the same time, contrasting the tone of the entire album completely. Anderson’s lyrical ability really shines through in this track, with the more minimal instrumentation forcing the listener to hone in one the lyrics as the main emotional focal point. The only downfall to this track was it seemed the ending was cut off too abruptly, immediately distracting from the core point of the track, however this abrupt change fits in well with the transition to the next song.
World’s Gone Mad starts with some intense organ, and the intensity stays the whole way through, including an infectious guitar riff. The lyrics, however, where a bit of a miss for me, providing a list of vaguely put issues, demonstrated the best in the first lines of the song “People living in fear, losing their minds, people killing people just trying to live their lives”. It felt like the track tried to include so many thinly veiled clichéd points, it failed to have any semblance of meaning. Although I know if I was in a crowd this song would get me dancing and dancing HARD, for the betterment of the album it felt like the point Anderson wanted to convey just wasn’t there.
Happy Again brings the album back on track, outlining heartache with a dash a hope; “It won’t be long ‘till I’m happy again”. This was congruent in keeping up with the more romantic theme with following track You Really Know What Love Is. This sounded like the next great pub love song featuring simple chords and memorable lyrics. It sounds as if it was written for a crowd to sing back. The album comes to a close with recent single Dark Eyes. The vocal delivery and instrumental arrangement is reminiscent of Jeff Buckley, classic rock that cuts to your core. For the first time in the whole album, the bass line becomes a feature instrument, tying into the song nicely and bringing the album to a fantastic close.