Psychedelic rockers, guitar-pop nuggets and poignant acoustic numbers coexist easily in Hambrick’s world. Mox Nix opens strong with “Motion,” a Brit Invasion-flavored tune peppered with guitar jangle that morphs into a slow burn that recalls late-era Beatles. No less catchy, “Here We Come” ties its hooks to a crunchy beat and guitar. It’s skronky ear candy, with Hambrick’s sunny vocal harmonies on top. The sugar rush continues with “Coming Over,” an irrepressible number with a smile on its face. Hambrick adds a rock edge to his confections on “All the Wrong,” “Give Up Your Blood” and the twisty “Closure.”
“Ordinary Man” marks one of many highlights on this filler-free record. While Hambrick often couches his heavier thoughts in well-lit musical arrangements, “Ordinary Man” doesn’t pull any punches. Its dark carnival vibe fits lyrics such as, “Grinding gears through the smoke / The jury’s back, the verdict’s in / I can’t cope” like a glove.
As for his acoustic, ruminative side, the songwriter pulls from experience with two beauties. “Canyon” feels like looking out a window onto a still, early winter lake. And the gorgeous closer, “He Sleeps by the Door,” is as sweet and heartfelt and personal a song as you’re likely to hear.
Mox Nix easily stands alongside Hambrick’s best work. It’s not just a fine record by a local treasure; it’s a fine record, period. Hambrick will debut Mox Nix live at the Brass Rail on March 18.
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