I try to use humor when writing my reviews, though not always successfully. I like to poke fun at much of the self-seriousness that hangs around bands like the odor of dead cat hangs around my basement. So I find myself completely disarmed when I come across a musician who clearly does not take himself seriously.
Hamrick is the brainchild of Ben Long, and the name of his latest release is Songs That Make No Sense. The title and cover art informed me immediately that at the very least, this album would be interesting.
The smooth jazz sound of the first track, “Strange Dreams,” made my heart sink, so I was stunned to find myself laughing out loud seconds later. Humor is not one of the things I look for in an album unless I’m buying Journey’s Greatest Hits. However, I couldn’t help but like Hamrick, and I have to give Ben credit for being one of the most entertaining Denver acts I have heard in a while.
An ability to switch effortlessly between genres is what makes going to a Ween concert so interesting. They are also very successful at using humor and still making a song that you can enjoy for its musical qualities. This is how I feel about Songs That Make No Sense, as the songs vacillate between experimental rock, country and the type of jazz some misguided soul might try to put on while trying to get oh-so-tender with that special someone.
My absolute favorite song on the album is “Stalkin’ & Streakin.’” Done in the smooth jazz format found on your local KOZY radio station, he sings to the object of his affection while standing naked on her porch. I think this is a song we can all identify with. As much as I enjoyed the song, I felt the instrumental reprise at the end of the album was a little unnecessary.
I think albums of this nature have a hard time finding a large audience. However, I think the song “Dumpster Divin’ Debra” will connect with the entire metro Denver population. My friend enjoyed the whole album immensely, but as he readily points out, he thinks bands like Stormtroopers of Death should sell out the Pepsi Center. I think that every type of music and every album has a place in your life. Songs That Make No Sense will fit nicely into that place when I have friends over and ask “Hey, you want to hear something funny?”