Hamilton are a “little” pop-punk band from the heights of Ottawa in Canada. With members pulled from various previous bands such as I Refuse, Scheme and New Teeth, as well as more active projects such as Alaskan and The Vanishing Act, it seems near impossible that they’ve had enough time to put together an EP. But an EP there is, in the form of Faint Ideas For Tired Minds, which you can check out at their Bandcamp page, an action I thoroughly recommend you undertake. Why? Because Faint Ideas For Tired Minds is a wonderful little gem in an otherwise monotonous and overrated genre.
It’s arguable whether the EP itself is pop-punk after all. When I think of good, “classic” pop-punk, I think Fall Out Boy, New Found Glory, Sugarcult. When I think of this new wave of an awful excuse for pop-punk, I think You Me At Six, All Time Low, Kids In Glass Houses. It’s impossible to put Hamilton within that frame because this EP is so much bigger than that. The band themselves have said that they often draw comparisons to bands such as Living With Lions and Hey Mercedes and that kind of sound is indeed somewhat present in this EP. A band that I feel more comfortable comparing them with is Armor For Sleep, and in particular, Armor For Sleep before they moved onto that terrible “the media is watching us all” concept album. I’m talking Armor For Sleep with What To Do When You’re Dead, with those big hooks and wandering guitar lines that make you think “damn, I wish that I’d written that”.
The EP itself contains five songs; Flirting With Royalty, Sweat, Dreams, Forfeit and It’s Only Momentary. Each song counts on this release and every song has its own stand out features. In particular, Sweat’s gang shout of “hey hey hey hey hey!” captures that good old familiar punk rock heart-sweller of a feeling inside me and a breakdown to die for. Flirting With Royalty has an insanely catchy opening riff that I’m going to be humming for days. Listening to Dreams is where I get that Armor For Sleep feel from that lives up to its title, the wandering guitar line reminiscent of a dream-like state. Forfeit opens up like a Bouncing Souls song might (palm mute ahoy!) only to launch into something completely different with one of the greatest singalong moments of the release in the chorus (“It’s not much, but it’s a staaaaart!”). It’s Only Momentary is a great finisher, again with a killer opening hook and some of the best lyrics on the EP. FIFTM is most definitely a summer release – there’s songs about sitting on rooftops, songs about not quite being grown up, but the lyrics also go so much deeper than that. It’s not quite Jesse Lacey style metaphor, but it’s honest, it’s from the heart; there’s no pretension here, which makes the release even more wonderful. It’s clear that all that previous band experience has culminated into a fantastic pool of talent here with everything fitting together so well. Out of all the unsigned music I’ve listened to recently, I haven’t heard anything quite as tight as this. On my initial listen, I thought that it was perhaps a little vocally underwhelming, but on each and every re-listen, I find that it fits just so perfectly with the tone of the songs. My one complaint is that it’s just too short – even after five or so listens, I’m still wanting more every time it hits that end track.
The tagline on their Bandcamp reads “This album was inspired by rooftops, basements, and backyards.” That might be the origins of this EP but it surely isn’t going to be the end of it. This EP deserves to be noticed. Hamilton might just be my new favourite band. Make sure they’re yours too.
4 out of 5 high fives!