Album Review: Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts – This Is The Sound

Ryan Hamilton has been on our radar since he partnered up with Bowling For Soup’s Jaret as part of double act People on Vacation. After that, he went solo, then he firmed up a band and then they formalised as Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts. Throughout all of this, Ryan and his cohort have continued to produce and push some great, bouncy rock ‘n’ roll.

The latest collection of tunes is This Is The Sound which comes out at the end of the month. It’s as eclectic a bunch of songs as Ryan has ever put together with “catchy sing-along” written all over it. Opener “Mamacita” has been available to listen to for a while and it’s typical of the livelier material he’s released in the past. A great bit of guitar work throughout harks back to the classic 1950’s music from which much of our favourite sounds have spawned. This is something Ryan’s always done in his music – referencing his influences both musically, and directly with name-checks in the lyrics.

Whereas Petty and The Stones have had mentions in albums past, this time we have The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft getting what is probably his first direct reference in a song during country-influenced number “Girl Vs. Monster”. It’s one of a couple of more laid back songs on the album, though the wonderfully heart-rending “Won’t Stop Now” beats it hands down for sheer emotion.

Pick of the other tracks include “Same Page”, “Get Down” and the title track. “Same Page” has a great “wo-ah-ah” chorus line that you’ll pick up and never be able to drop, whereas “Get Down” is another one which harks back to the days where people went to see rock ‘n’ roll shows so they could boogie. “This is the Sound” is, if there is such a thing by now, typical Ryan Hamilton and as such is the perfect track to gift its title to the album as a whole. Uplifting, personal and heartfelt it’s everything… as the lyrics themselves tell us as the song draws to a close.

This is the Sound took very little time to settle, definitely an album I fell for quickly. I get so many albums that take a few listens for me to get a feel for them, but this wasn’t one of them. After the first listen I was already humming a few of the riffs and by repeat three I was hooked. Great stuff.

This Is The Sound is out on May 31st

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