The Deal: Front man and founder of ex-major label band The Working Title attempts to keep the music alive all by his lonesome and with little cash to back it up.
The Good: Going from being on the American Wedding soundtrack to self-producing CDs, the break from the corporate world gives Joel Hamilton the freedom of creativity he needs. Hamilton has what could possibly be one of the most heart-breaking talents in this day and age – a pure Southern boy with a heart full of aches that he puts into words so gracefully. While his warbling vocals and unusual instrumentation may seem a bit unconventional, the mixture blends into something so beautiful and haunting that he can render you speechless, which is evident in tracks such as "Darkness" and "Arms and Thighs." The most upbeat track, "Physical Love," is the closest he'll come to being your next radio-friendly rock 'n' roller, but only in beat. When's the last time you heard a top-40 song about a battle between faith and libido?
The Bad: The downfall is essentially just one song, "Hijackers." The hard-hitting topic and unique sound is refreshing, but adding a misplaced new metal band growl to such an already pain-laden voice is unnecessary. Seems Hamilton should heed the old advice about not overworking something.
The Verdict: Falling completely away from what fans of the band's last CD, About Face, were expecting, Hamilton succeeds in stepping into his own and embracing his chance to show what he is capable of, without the pressure of the suits. The record may bounce around in style, but that raw experimentation shows the passion Hamilton has for music, which is something that is hard to see in a lot of artists today. I say bravo.