Chase Hamblin's A Fine Time EP somehow bridges the gap between the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and the late orchestral work of Elliott Smith, without all the suicidal tendencies. The five-song release really is a marvel to listen, sounding like George Martin or Jon Brion themselves were behind the boards. Hamblin's reedy voice reminds us of one of the Davies brothers in the Kinks (we're not sure which), and it settles in swimmingly with each of the tracks on this debut release. It comes off more as a mini greatest-hits collection from some long-lost Donovan acolyte than the first solo effort of the former Penny Royal and current Picture Book frontman. People talk about twee H-pop being the next wave in Houston, but it's folks like Hamblin, Robert Ellis and Tyagaraja who are doing the coolest and weirdest stuff.
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