Hammydown - Pizzaface

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:6 Release Date:2017-07-21

The story goes that Hammydown singer and songwriter Abbie Morin went from playing “wistful Americana love songs” to something edgier largely because her acoustic guitar playing style was so aggressive that she was constantly breaking strings, which thus forced her to take up the electric and, subsequently reassess her artistry. Not quite Bob Dylan at Newport, but honest and revelatory just the same.

Hammydown is the band project of Massachusetts’s singer/songwriter Abbie Morin, and Pizzaface is a likeable handful of garage pop delivering messages of millennial self-doubt and perseverance. On the title track, Morin mutters, “I’m not quite where I’m looking for,” which could be the wrap-around arm tattoo for an entire generation, while opener “Automatic Sweetheart” is a snarky shout-out to service workers – the career reality in the post-industrial world – who are forced to maintain robotic effervescence as a priority of their job duties (Morin reportedly still works in a café). As anyone who has ever waited a table or pinned a nametag to their corporate polo shirt knows, these jobs can drain your soul, as she sings, “Catch me in a rare form, save me from my lukewarm automatic sweetheart.” For a cinematic point of reference, Google “Jennifer Aniston and flair” on YouTube.

For the vast majority of artists, the path to creative independence is paved with short stints in countless pink-collar jobs. It’s therefore understandable that a level of cynicism might spill over into one’s personal life. “Don’t default to me cuz I’m too bored for honesty. Don’t default to me cuz I’ll outgrow banality,” she admonishes on the fuzzy garage rocker “People You May Know.” “Migraine,” a slower, meandering song that is the most unique, if not ultimately successful offering, suggests alternatives to dealing with life, “Take this one for the pain; take the other for your mind.”

On the closer, “Sky Friend” she waxes philosophical over the well-worn soft-loud verse-chorus pattern to describe her vision of deity: “My god is…cracking beers, rolling extras up to sell them on the side, cut from old magazines, a queer, for real.” It’s a nice encapsulation of what Hammydown offers - smart if precocious lyrics, solid and catchy garage-pop choruses, and a sizable bit of potential. Color me curious.

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