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Hatton’s ‘Walls’ a stripped-down record filled with thoughtful, intimate lyrics

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Some songs have decent lyrics to them, and then others have horrible, and then there’s the rare few that have groundbreaking lyrics that stand on their own as pieces of poetry even without the music.

Ban Hatton’s new album “Walls” has those type of lyrics within each song. It’s not quite on the level of someone like Bob Dylan or a more contemporary lyricist such as Sufjan Stevens, but it’s pretty damn close.

On the song “Brothers” for instance, Hatton expresses a raw realness that doesn’t try to paint the world as a happy-go-lucky place. He sings, “Little white lie
little girl popping adderall
she’s such a loud hot mess
got me feeling sentimental now

The open road with her will clear your head
remind you who you’re gonna be
but her home is gonna chain you down
it’s never gonna set you free.

Lean in close enough to feel your breath
slowing on my skin
the way this place feels changes
every single time you walk back in.”

IMG_3317On the song “Roanoke” he sings about being with someone who doesn’t love you anymore but you still may have occasional contact with. The song expresses the pain that comes with that even if things are friendly, quite wonderfully.

The chorus goes, “Thank god we fell in love
thank god we fell apart
you’re never gonna have a good ending
if you can’t legitimize the start.

But I’m gonna make you my daydream
I’m gonna let you fill my heart
I’m gonna watch you climb on that plane
and leave me acting out my part

I’m gonna watch you fly home
and leave my broken heart
you might not be my lover
but you’re my friend.”

The tone of that track, the simplicity of the guitar and drums adds to the feeling. The pace feels a little too fast for the type of song it is, but it works well enough.

Another stand-out track is “Oncoming Lights (For Casey)” which does take things slow in a way “Roanoke” probably could have gone.

Like Dylan, I can see how people may not care for Hatton’s voice. In that way it does sound quite a bit like Dylan without being a straight rip-off. And just like people have said they can’t see how Dylan is considered a good singer, so too can the same thing be said about Hatton, although in my opinion I think there’s nothing wrong with his voice whatsoever. It’s emotional, it’s clear and it’s authentic. For the type of music he’s performing, there’s not much more you can ask for.

My favorite track on the album has to be “Plastic Dreams.” It’s an up-beat track with a thoughtful message behind it. It’s essentially a song about hope. The lines, “Come get high with me and close your eyes
I’ll tell you who I’m gonna be
these plastic dreams
they help me get some sleep at night
and if you can’t tell me
well I need to move on with my life,” are particularly resonant.

Some other artists Hatton says he looks at as influences include Tom Petty, Ryan Adams, Lucero, Ryan Bingham adn Wilco. A Virginia native, “Walls” is Hatton’s second record, the first being a “rough homemade EP I recorded on my computer in December 2014,” he says.

While Hatton’s still new to the recording industry, listening to this record you can’t help but hear the talent he brings to each of his songs. He sounds authentic, thoughtful and joyous. If you like intellectual folk music, be sure to check him out.

For more on him, you can follow Hatton on Instagram or Bandcamp.

 

 

Editor's Rating

8.3
On "Walls," Virginia-based Ban Hatton exhibits an emotional, real look at life, love and the struggles of everyday people. You can't help but make comparisons to a young Bob Dylan, although there's a bit of Wilco, Ryan Bingham and Tom Petty in there, also.
0 User ratings
8.3

PROS

The lyrics can stand on their own as great pieces of work. The songs do a great job of highlighting the lyrics, especially on songs such as "Oncoming Lights (For Casey)" and "Plastic Dreams."

CONS

Much like Dylan, not everyone will love his voice. It gets the job done well, but it's something that isn't going to blow you away. On the song "Roanoke," it feels like he's singing a little too fast that you miss the melancholy feeling behind the lyrics a little, but it's still enjoyable regardless.
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