On their marks: matured and experienced, New York collective begin the search for an audience and are bound to find a crowd to own.
Mikey Hamptons is no novice on the scene, yet his former band, PREDESTINED, didn’t get a lot of footing, despite a string of releases, so the time came to acquire another personality, and the singer’s habit of rescuing feral felines and placing them in shelters resulted in a new moniker – one reeking of tradition. And that’s exactly the smell of the ensemble’s full-length debut, a follow-up to a couple 2018 singles.
Of course, there would be no intrigue in this album if the conciliatory fatigue of its title informed the songs, but the listener’s interest is engaged from the beginning, once the heavy beat and thickly layered, defiant riffs bring “Dreamwave” to the fore for Hamptons’ half-hysterical voice to shatter any illusion that lyrics could evoke and turn a loose reverie into a tight tune. So while “Fine” might project an air of denial, the number’s glam-geared stomp will prove irresistible, even though smiles would have to wait until the singalong-inducing “Full Circle” which Mikey’s deliberately tired voice takes, via a cappella intro, beyond daily routine and leads towards folksy respite.
The band are on the roll in “Won’t Stay Down” – a song so radio-friendly one is tempted to invite it into their home and let it crash on the sofa for a long while because, ultimately – as stressed by the catchy, glossy “Keep On” – what the foursome do can be easily summarized as pop-rock. And even though the zip of “Yeah yeah yeah” in “Magic In Your Mind” seems somewhat undermined once six strings start to shred, a healthy dose of showing off never got in the way of a rock group’s method.
With the otherwise dry epic “I’m Alive” soaring on Andreas Altmann’s guitar filigree rather than the piece’s romantic chorus, and “Have You Seen The Truth?” elevating blues to orchestral heights, the ensemble offer a subtle variety of genres they’re adept at, but “Satisfied Alone” is able to encompass both seriousness and playfulness of it all. More so, these words encompass the album’s aftertaste: those New York cats have claws and class.