American Babies: An Epic Battle Between Light & Dark
Tom Hamilton, the main force behind American Babies, describes his latest record as a discussion of both what it is like to experience depression and what it takes to maintain hope while in the midst of it—issues with which he has personal experience. “A lot of this record is how we’ve dealt with things,” he says, referring to himself and his musical collaborator Peter Tramo, who helped him craft the album. “How I, in spite of having those times that are just the worst, am still pushing through and making a life happen regardless.” Even without its ominous title, An Epic Battle Between Light & Dark is undoubtedly a heavy record. Tracks like the introspective waltz “Alone in the House” and the expansive, triumphant “Bring It in Close” show a deep desire to understand and console, despite an almost unbearable weight. However, it never feels heavy-handed, and there are even moments of musical levity, as in the horn-fueled rapture of the beginning and end of “Fever Dreams.” Hamilton prefers to go deep here, though, as encapsulated in “Oh Darling,” whose second half jarringly falls into a swampy guitar jam that aptly sounds like an epic battle raging inside the mind.