Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors – The Devil’s in the Detail
Back in 2014, he gave us one of the best power pop albums of the year (it came in at #5 on our year end list). Now, Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors are back again with another winner. The Devil’s in The Detail is not only a victory for the music, it clearly demonstrates how crowd funding can be a winning proposition for all involved. Those who pledged a couple a sheckles got what they paid for and then some.
The songs on The Devil’s In The Detail are not only topically diverse, they cover more ground stylistically, too. Additionally, the tempo changes make it more interesting than the previous LP, Hell of A Day.
“We Never Should Have Moved To LA” is an immediate classic with it’s turn-about is fair play story and those fabulous ringing guitars. If Hamilton had double-tracked them, the guitars might have almost created a Cheap Trick Dream Police effect. This track is tremendous fun.
I’d be hard-pressed to identify a more captivating pop hook than the chorus to “Scottish Mud”. And the BTO-like “Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” stutter (conscious reference or not)in the chorus is a nice touch. Having recorded this record in Scotland, “Scottish Mud” is most assuredly autobiographical and is another straight-up rocker. By contrast, “Back in Time” slows things down considerably. A two minute tale with a country twang, it gives us just enough time to catch our breath before Hamilton & Co. launch into the next rocker.
If it’s pure pop you want, look no further than “Drugs & Fashion”. The melody for this piano driven number not only kicks ass, its absolutely infectious. If radio DJs still had the latitude to play music they actually like, “Drugs & Fashion” would be in constant rotation from New York to Newport Beach.
If you didn’t think that Hamilton had a pissed-off side, give ”It Ain’t Easy” a listen. Anger can be a great motivator, and Hamilton takes full advantage of it here. It’s fair to assume his venom is directed at more than “the business” ( his former cohort from People On Vacation?). Whatever the case, it is yet another layer in a many-sided story and makes The Devil’s In The Detail a most appropriate title for this work. In the spirit of this song, I’ve worked up the cover art to your right should Ryan ever want to release “It Ain’t Easy” as a single.
Speaking of album art…..
Much like fellow Texan Robert Harrison and Cotton Mather did with their KonTiki reissue, Ryan decided to raise the funds he needed to make the project a reality by using a crowd funding platform. But Hamilton upped the ante by releasing demos to those who pledged during the process. At the same time, he solicited opinions from fans and even got one to create the cover art. This made for a more inclusive experience, one in which his fans had a vested interest.
Ryan Hamilton and The Traitors will release The Devil’s In The Detail sometime in February of 2016, making the music available through the usual channels (iTunes, Amazon, etc.) as well as through the band’s website.
Since there are no existing sound samples from the new album yet – and in light of recent news events about online bullying, I thought I’d share this very worthwhile video from Ryan himself. If you’re a victim of cyber bullying, I hope you’ll find this helpful. I’ve used the method he describes in the video btw. It works.