Hamish Anderson

Hamish Anderson

Independent release, 2013


REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


One doesn't necessarily think of Australia as a hotbed of American blues-inspired rock, but Hamish Anderson is evidently hoping to change that.

The Melbourne singer-songwriter, who is all of 21 years old, has released a self-titled EP that attempts to transfer the energy and skill of his live show to record. The show is pretty spectacular by all accounts, and if "Howl" is any indication, Mr. Anderson is a performer to watch in the next few years.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

That track is a fine entry in the beer-soaked blues-rock canon, keeping pace with Joe Bonamassa, Gary Clark Jr. and other contemporary bluesmen; like them, Anderson is able to lay down a wonderful groove and a great solo without needing to show off. "Smoke And Mirrors" is a bit more low-key but just as intense, given a boost by Rami Jaffee's organ and a solo section that blends that organ, a guitar solo, and Anderson's wordless, overlaid vocal harmonies.

Jaffee was a founding member of the Wallflowers and currently plays keyboards for the Foo Fighters; he helped record these five tracks while the Foos were on tour in Austrailia. Former Weezer producer Eric Dubowsky gives the music a gritty yet polished shine, doing justice to the songwriting while emphasizing the energy of the performances.

"Sad & Blue" is neither, instead acting as a quirky rocker with hints of Ryan Adams and Pete Yorn. The acoustic "Empty Thoughts" is pleasant if uninspiring, but the closing acoustic ballad "Winter" is better, a confessional meditation with a warm, inviting sound, the kind of thing John Mayer could pull off if he wasn't so full of himself.

There's not much original language here, nothing that really makes the listener want to push repeat except for "Howl," but the EP gives Anderson some exposure and hopefully will attract the interest of a record label. Hamish Anderson is a pretty good introduction to an up-and-coming Aussie talent and "Howl" is definitely worth seeking out; how you feel about that one, or about acoustic balladry and blues rock in general, will determine if you like the rest of this one.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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