American Babies: Knives & Teeth
The new album from Tom Hamilton’s American Babies is a schizophrenic ride through just about every emotion you’ll find in your therapist’s repertoire, from knife-flinging anger to head-shaking resignation to knee-bending appreciation. The album opens with the acoustic ramble of "When I Build My Fortune,” Hamilton’s acute observation of himself as an adult through the eyes of a child. “I’m gonna tell on you, you know what you did,” says Hamilton on the album’s second cut, which is an exploration of an act deemed “Cold Blooded.” The Grim Reaper’s opportunistic vigilance, inspired by the death of two friends, is the subject of the kinetic “Bullseye Blues.” Heavy topics notwithstanding, there’s humor in songs like “This Thing Ain’t Goin’ Nowheres” and the simply lovely “Goddamn.” Throughout the set, Hamilton draws on influences that range from acoustic Zeppelin to early Bowie to ‘70s radio pop. Multiple listens prove this to be one of the better rock records of the year.