Album Review: Ryan Hamilton & the Harlequin Ghosts – Nowhere To Go But Everywhere

Nowhere To Go But Everywhere is the latest album to be released by Ryan Hamilton & the Harlequin Ghosts, with Hamilton thankfully managing to avoid the curse that sometimes follows artists releasing their sophomore effort.

By Jane Howkins

Hamilton’s music is folk-rock, with elements of country and classic rock and roll also present for good measure. Think Tom Petty mixed with Brian Fallon, and you’re halfway there. Most of the songs here are fairly catchy (just listen to the ‘na na nah’s on Jesus & John Lennon) but it’s never in a commercialised way. These songs are good enough to get stuck in your head, but everything sounds very genuine, which is definitely a good thing!

There’s a very strong sense of Americana within these tracks, as fits the style of music Hamilton plays. The frontman does not shy away from expressing his emotions, and some of the topics on offer here are quite melancholy, with Hamilton’s recent divorce providing an ample subject to sing about. You really get a sense of how Ryan uses his music to express himself, with there being a lot of soul searching present within these songs. He actually wrote most of the tracks on a road trip across Route 66 after the news of the divorce broke – there’s something very freeing about the whole thing which really shines through here.

That isn’t to say that the whole album is depressing though – Ryan has a certain knack for writing heartbreaking songs with upbeat melodies, and whilst there are some slow ballads here, most of the tracks are fairly uptempo. This makes for a great mix in sound, providing something that you can also dance along to (for the most part). There’s also something very anthemic about most of the songs on display here – Can I Get An Amen is one such track – showing that Ryan is destined for great things in his future. Newcastle Charm is very remiscent of Tom Petty, and the cover of his song Southern Accents also manages to do the great man justice.

We really enjoyed Nowhere To Go But Everywhere, and anyone into folk/rock/country should find something to like here. Ryan’s music is going from strength to strength, and we can’t wait to hear what he produces for his next record. Our only criticism is that at times his influences do seem to take control over the music, but there is enough here for Hamilton to stand out on his own, and it truly is a cracking album.