Published Jun 25, 2019As backup singers for Anthony Hamilton, North Carolina trio the HamilTones became social media darlings known as much for their cheeky sense of humour as for their rich, soulful vocals. On their debut EP, Watch the Ton3s, they step out from the background and prove that they can deliver more than comic relief.
The compact, five-song EP is straightforward and pleasant. Bandmates J. Vito, 2E and Tony Lelo exhibit perfect chemistry, sharing the lead and playing the background with seamless precision. Each singer has a brawny, soulful voice that could easily stand alone but, mercifully, they never drag the EP down by trying to outperform each other.
The music itself is where opinions might split — it's entertaining, but focuses so intensely on a bygone era that it sounds dated. "Gotta Be Lovin Me" is rollicking fun, punctuated by churchy hand claps and jovial guitars, while "Pieces" is spot-on, vintage begging. "Best Friend" is a bluesy number decorated with theatrical vocal flourishes. There are no glaring flaws, but with no elements to anchor the songs to the present, they ultimately sound passé.
Watch the Ton3s has a distinctly old-school feel that won't appeal to everyone. But for those looking for a simple, feel-good sound, this EP is definitely worth a listen. (Independent)