Knox Hamilton - The Heights

Review by Dom Vigil

Knox Hamilton are going to make you wish it was summer already with their debut full-length, The Heights. These thirteen high energy, yet incredibly comfortable sounding tracks are arena-ready without trying too hard. The sound that Knox Hamilton have perfected on this release is the perfect blend of easy going indie-pop and catchy as hell summer anthems.

Inviting listeners to stick around for all thirteen tracks is the warm opener, “We Get Back,” which honestly just feels comfortable and confident. “We Get Back” is a great introduction to Knox Hamilton if this is your first time listening, with subtle yet flawless vocal harmonies peppered in alongside a high energy rhythm section and strong guitar work. And if this is your first time listening to the band, then you better stick around, because you’re in for a real treat.

It doesn’t seem like Knox Hamilton have gone out of their way to write over the top summer anthems and in doing so, they’ve instead created something very honest and natural feeling. Track after track, nothing ever feels forced or overdone and it’s still worthy of sing-alongs or blasting at full volume in the car. The second and third songs, “Washed Up Together” and “Set It On Fire” are perfect examples of this. Sure to be one of this summer’s best songs, “Washed Up Together” has a little bit of everything - a memorable chorus, an easygoing yet energetic vibe and catchy guitar and bass work. It’s perfectly well rounded, full and most of all, fun. “Set It On Fire” follows suit, hosting some of the album’s best vocal work and a timeless synth-heavy sound.

The first few songs on The Heights are bright, arena ready anthems, so when “Call Me Up” kicks off with heavy bass and lower vocals, it’s a welcome change of pace. Where the first few songs shine because of the higher vocals and dreamy instrumentals, “Call Me Up” is really guitar and bass driven. This contrasts really well with the following song, “Pretty Way To Fight.”

As The Heights continues to chug forward, it becomes apparent that this album is comprised of hit after hit. Each song is incredibly well written and carefully crafted. If upon first listen, it seems like The Heights tends to stay on one level, I urge you to give it some more time and another listen or two. Although Knox Hamilton certainly bombard you with high energy track after high energy track, they absolutely know how to write diverse, captivating songs as well. There might not be many peaks or valleys on this album, so to speak, but by your second or third time listening to the album (and by the time you find yourself already singing long) you’ll also find it hard to care.

If you’re hard to please, though, just be patient. As The Heights comes to an end, Knox Hamilton are sure to impress you with the final few diverse songs. “Sight For Sore Eyes,” for instance, with its pounding drums and dreamy synth is one of the most energetic songs on the album, followed closely by “Barely Missed You,” the slow, emotional song you’ll find yourself longing for throughout the rest of The Heights. Although it comes a little later on, it’s definitely worth the wait. Then, the album’s stunning title track follows suit and brings things to a strong close. It’s in these final few songs that Knox Hamilton really prove their versatility. The band absolutely shines on high energy anthems, but are also capable of crafting emotional ballads, and this being their debut full-length, this only gives Knox Hamilton a ton of promise for the future. The Heights is the first of what promises to be many strong releases from Knox Hamilton.

Rating: 4.5/5

Listen to "Washed Up Together" or "Set It On Fire"