A mysterious wah guitar and light drums introduces Cheap, the second release from local artist Kevin Hambrick who records under the name “Blueberry Hurricane.” As on his 2001 self-titled debut album, Hambrick plays every guitar and every bass, sings every vocal part, and hits every drum (although he does allow fellow Big Red & Rojo member Kyle Stevenson to record and mix the collective tracks). Once again Hambrick weaves a tasty tapestry of songs that borrow elements from the 60s and 70s while adding in a flurry of experimental sonic textures, all coagulating into inventive retro-ish rock/pop songs.
The aforementioned first track, “Knockin’ On The Door (Again),” pits a relaxed Lennonesque melody against a driving bridge, all with some nice vocal harmonies. Like a moody ode to “Savoy Truffle,” “Marigold” is hijacked by a really cool fuzz bass that rumbles through the song like a deranged grandmother (sans teeth). To continue the George Harrison feel is “Feel Me Try,” with vocals that sound as if they came right from the great dead one’s mouth and some great guitar work. Changing gears is “Potion,” which consists of acoustic guitars, Crosby, Stills and Nash vocal harmonies, a catchy, folksy melody and nothing else — clean, simple and memorable. The intentionally lo-fi vocals on “Epidemic” give this jaunty song of love lost a nice 40s feel while the chiming guitars and two-part vocal harmonies of “Much Too Long” remind the listener of the classic songwriting of Jim Croce.
The acoustic stand-up bass and fuzzy guitars on “Evening Of Delight” are yet another sound in the tool belt of this creative artist. The album ends with the lighthearted “Go To Bed,” a short acoustic song sure to bring a smile to your face.
Unlike the last project, which was recorded at Soundmill, this one was definitely done on the cheap. While the artwork is exquisite (as is his website at www.kevinhambrick.com), it’s obviously a computer printout over a CD-R. Sound-wise you can also hear the limitations of whatever equipment was available at their home studio, but it’s not such that one is distracted from the content of these wonderful songs. These nine arty songs are available at the artist’s web site and at Wooden Nickel stores at a nice, Cheap price.
This review first appeared in WhatzUp, August 2002.