Welcome To The Batlands is the debut album by Northern Irish artist Ethan Hanna.
A cocktail of smoky blues club, Americana, and at times a splash of honkytonk. Taking on archetypal topics like love and loss, Hanna’s signature gravely rasp distinguishes each track with a gritty nostalgia. Think Damien Rice meets Tom Waits.
Emblematic examples are Bikes & Cars, Late August Wonder—where Hanna channels the likes of Bob Segar and/or Bruce Springsteen, and my personal favorite, Passenger Seat.
Trouble, along with Perfect counter the melancholy with a more upbeat tempo.
An ambitious twelve tracks, there are a few surprises. The way the track Proud hits you with a profound gut punch. The pyrotechnic guitar solo on Fire. And last but not least, Now You’re In New York. An antithetical love song told in an artistic collage of sound featuring an almost whispered sampling of dialogue from the classic film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Welcome To The Batlands is familiar but fresh. It’s melancholic, but not sad. Hanna’s distinct voice texturizes each track, thus driving home these wistful reflections.