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Articles Home » 1973 Articles » Hamlet - 1973 Hamlet
Hamlet - 1973 Hamlet

ARTIST: Hamlet
ALBUM: Hamlet
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: ST 11152
YEAR: 1973


LINEUP: Bob Brien - guitars, vocals * Kurt Kearnes - guitars, vocals * Mark Cipolla - bass, keyboards, vocals * Steve Parsons - drums, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Little You Say * 02 Just A Touch * 03 Jimmy Watts * 04 Bound To Redream You * 05 Garden Of Girls * 06 Tonight * 07 Voodoo Man * 08 I Should Have Known * 09 Time For Love * 10 Lazy Summer * 11 Curtains

With a name like Hamlet and on first listen you'd swear on a stack of Badfinger albums these guys were British but not so. Northern California's Sacramento Valley was Hamlet's home base forming out of the ashes two local bands - The Boy Blues and Colours. Can't vouch for the first one, but Colours was a fantastic orchestral pop outfit in the style of Love and the first three Bee Gees albums. Following the break-up of Colours, details are sketchy but we do know Hamlet only got around to releasing one album, toured up and down the west coast and a received a sparkling review in Billboard magazine.

The Songs
The music of Hamlet is lock step with other bands of the era such as Badfinger, The World, Richard Twice and Fickle Pickle. In other words, quality harmony based pop steeped in The Beatles tradition. Where to begin? There's so much good music on this record and Hamlet's only single 'Just A Touch' is as good as it gets with a Stories styled hook-filled rumbler that's catchy as hell. 'Jimmy Watts' takes us on Sgt. Pepperesque- magical mystery tour complete with faux English accents. Fantastic stuff and the Paul McCartney influenced 'Garden Of Girls' is just the icing on the cake. Over to side two and clocking in at just a minute and fifteen seconds 'I Should Have Known' is nothing short of a lost power pop classic. Unbelievable and the orchestral 'Time For Love', the bouncy folk of 'Lazy Summer' and the closing 'Curtains' which again borrows heavily from the Macca 'Hey Jude' songbook are just too good to miss.

In Summary
Hamlet are starting to get a reputation among power pop fanatics and it's hard to believe they've gone almost unnoticed all these years especially since the record was released on a major label. Definitely an album I'd like to see on CD where it can get a much deserved second chance, but until that happens seek and ye shall find over at eBay and GEMM on the cheap.

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#1 | super80boy on October 25 2015 15:34:08
Along with 'Just A Touch', 'Tonight' would have also have been in a single worthy mode with its highly infectious harmonies and up-tempo rhythms. It's a shame that 'I Should Have Known' only goes for 1:19, seems to just cut off right when it's getting started, a standout song none the less. 'Lazy Summer' is another harmonious standout. Hamlet is definitely an under the radar gem of a record.
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