You may remember seeing these cats around Athens, and if you do then I’m sure you remember how it touched you, in some way or another. “Let’s Go On and On and On” is the 4th album by Ham1. The following is a review of this little 2010 gem put out by Cleft Records.
Ham1’s 2010 release “Let’s Go On and On and On” is an album of beautifully executed guitar tones and mixes that teem with sonic gifts for any listener. Unrestrained melodic “warm fuzzies” spill onto and swim upon each track’s evolving landscape from corners you might not have been sure were there.
There are two distinct guitar presences that Mr. Jim Willingham embodies masterfully: one that’s drier and coil-ier for a dusty, tumbleweed effect, blowing in with plenty of tremelo and nostalgia, and for the bigger questions he pries with the most tasteful of fuzz and room verb for some of the most unoffensive alt-rock classmanship I’ve heard. The digestion was highly reminiscent for me of the first full listen I had to Pavement’s “Crooked, Crooked, Rain.” With each track on “Let’s” traveling within, without, above, and beyond itself in arrangement, a first testament can be made for the larger scope of the work, which displays in essence an artistically enthralling conquest. The waltzy, punchdrunken embrace of tracks like “Two Feathers” and “Low Expectations” lay in clever simbiosis amongst the clockwork, guitar driven jabs of the instrumental and more rock esque, proclamatory numbers that “secret spy death missions” the listener further into the album.
This record makes me think of what it would feel like to strap on the goggles just before flying on an antique motorcycle into a valley of cartoonish haunts and monsters, only to realize that this environment is barely more frightening than the under stimulated dwellings of which I rode in from. This fearful journey is not without spontaneous jubilant self reward, offered by a group of seasoned collaborators triumphant in painting Jim’s dream water soaked, perpetually unfolding atlas; finished just in time to be delivered to you by a jewel sporting magpie. With the sounding of horns and the swarming of frantic melody, you have been called.
Take time to decide which childhood longings are to carry along, or leave behind. As Jim invites, “Let’s Go On and On and On.”
By: Matt Garrison
Jim Willingham’s latest project is a band called “Old Smokey” who kicked off the first night of GYPSY FARM FEST back in Jan 2012.