B. Hamilton - Everything I Own is Broken (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

B. Hamilton

Everything I Own is Broken (2012)

Parks and Records

I'm going to call B. Hamilton's Everything I Own is Broken a double album. Not because of its running time (only 50 minutes/12 tracks), but simply because Hamilton seems torn between two styles that don't perfectly gel. It is because of this clash that Everything never quite becomes a great record. It's certainly an interesting one, but "interesting" here can be code for "more fun to talk about than to actually play." Call it Ryan Adams Syndrome.

As best exemplified by opener "Me and Margaret Counting Countdowns," Hamilton is really good at bluesy lo-fi rock. The guitars sound like jet engines and I can't hear the drums, just the cymbals, but holy Hannah does it rock. Shouting his way into the mix is Hamilton. No clue what he's saying, but got-damn does he sound electric. "Countdowns" gets a few retreads, such as on "Outside a Hexagram" and "Turn Out the Lights," but nothing dominates the senses quite like this first track.

Perhaps to balance out the noise, Hamilton also throws in some slower, singer/songwritery tracks. Sometimes they amp up the blues ("Miss Carolina") or atmosphere ("Gold Tooth"), but the guy dips towards this mellower mood just a little too often, making those rock ‘n' roll explosions missed. Still, he does deliver some nice grooves when he slips into this vein, most notably on "Gold Tooth." I just wish he'd cut loose more.

That all being said, Everything I Own is Broken is a fine lil record. Despite being held back by its warring sensibilities, it still delivers some quality bluesy jams. It isn't quite lo-fi enough to satisfy my shoegaze needs, but it hits this nice meeting point of lo-fi and more standard Starbucks fare. Given a little bit of buzz, it'd make a fine crossover/gateway record.