Megan Hamilton plays folk-rock
that doesn't enthral me, but certainly leaves a nice taste in my
mouth/ears. This record is little more than Megan's vocals over
guitars and a rhythm section (as well as some piano), but the product
is well-polished and melodic. Megan's voice is delightfully
unspectacular, perfect for the matter-of-factly compositions on tap.
The thing about a record like this is
that it leaves me flatly underwhelmed. I certainly have no objections
to putting See Your Midnight Breath in the Shipyard on the
stereo; heck, I'll even hum along to some of the more infectious songs
(fantastic "Figure It Out," Nedelle-esque "From Here to
Vancouver"). But the straightforwardness of this album can also lead
to it becoming a lurker -- one of those records that slinks
around in the back of your music collection, gathering more layers of
dust than rotations in your CD player.
But this is often the case with
singer/songwriter folk enterprises. At least Hamilton has a
quirky personality, and wisely imbues several of Midnight Breath's
songs with a welcome country tinge (Tarnation-esque
"I <3 Computers," "Why Do We Cry?"). As well, at this record's
defining moments, Hamilton's voice meshes sublimely with the
production to create several thoroughly
impressive songs. See Your Midnight Breath in the Shipyard is
not going to change the world, or even the music scene, but it's tough
to lob complaints at a record this competent and pleasant, even if
it's a tad too straightforward.
Hamilton will be playing on June 20 at Bread and Circus as part of
Toronto's 2009 North by Northeast festival.
Fun Fact: Megan herself explains: "Mark
Vogelsang placed all of the sounds on the album as though they were
on a ship - he drew a cross-section of a ship (it's in the EPK) and
applied mathematical equations to the over 300 sounds."