The Underground Stream, the new album by Athens band Ham1, brims with effortless nonchalant performances, wrought with spontaneity and full of studio-orchestrated front-porch pop songs smacking of California harmony on a rainy day. Ham1 has more in common with their local Elephant 6 faction than with our hard-working misfits of the DIY ethos Infinity Cat. That, however, hasn't stopped the Nashville label from putting out the band's new LP. Given the record's bevy of melodious songs and instantly likeable plain-sailing presentation, it's an alliance that we in Nashville should welcome with open arms of Steve Perry proportions.
Opener "Will You Ever" sounds like Pavement's "Range life" coupled with a haunted Southern gothic flair. "Thalyacine" brings to mind the jangly post-punk roots of their city's favorite sons R.E.M., while the brisk country slow-dance of "This is Your Life," like the record's wistful calm, is a sonic reminder of life's small pleasures--Ham1 being one of them--making this a thoroughly enjoyable listen for a pop hedonist such as myself. Just as JEFF's Castle Storm is a thoroughly enjoyable listen for a basement punkophile such as, well...myself.
The album can be downloaded for free here, and the band is doing a Nashville record release show this Friday night at Little Hamilton. Y'all should go!