The music of Hamlet is lock step with other bands of the era such as Badfinger, in other words, quality harmony based pop steeped in The Beatles tradition.
Written by: Eric
SERIAL: ST 11152
CD INFO: Discogs Info
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Bob Brien – guitars, vocals * Kurt Kearnes – guitars, vocals * Mark Cipolla – bass, keyboards, vocals * Steve Parsons – drums, vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Little You Say * 02 Just A Touch * 03 Jimmy Watts * 04 Bound To Redream You * 05 Garden Of Girls * 06 Tonight * 07 Voodoo Man * 08 I Should Have Known * 09 Time For Love * 10 Lazy Summer * 11 Curtains
With a name like Hamlet and on first listen you’d swear on a stack of Badfinger albums these guys were British but not so. Northern California’s Sacramento Valley was Hamlet’s home base forming out of the ashes two local bands – The Boy Blues and Colours.
Can’t vouch for the first one, but Colours was a fantastic orchestral pop outfit in the style of Love and the first three Bee Gees albums.
Following the break-up of Colours, details are sketchy but we do know Hamlet only got around to releasing one album, toured up and down the west coast and a received a sparkling review in Billboard magazine.
The music of Hamlet is lock step with other bands of the era such as Badfinger, The World, Richard Twice and Fickle Pickle. In other words, quality harmony based pop steeped in The Beatles tradition.
Where to begin? There’s so much good music on this record and Hamlet’s only single ‘Just A Touch’ is as good as it gets with a Stories styled hook-filled rumbler that’s catchy as hell. ‘Jimmy Watts’ takes us on Sgt. Pepperesque- magical mystery tour complete with faux English accents. Fantastic stuff and the Paul McCartney influenced ‘Garden Of Girls’ is just the icing on the cake.
Over to side two and clocking in at just a minute and fifteen seconds ‘I Should Have Known’ is nothing short of a lost power pop classic. Unbelievable and the orchestral ‘Time For Love’, the bouncy folk of ‘Lazy Summer’ and the closing ‘Curtains’ which again borrows heavily from the Macca ‘Hey Jude’ songbook are just too good to miss.
Hamlet are starting to get a reputation among power pop fanatics and it’s hard to believe they’ve gone almost unnoticed all these years especially since the record was released on a major label. Definitely an album I’d like to see on CD where it can get a much deserved second chance, but until that happens seek and ye shall find over at eBay and GEMM on the cheap.