LA-based singer-songwriter Kat Hamilton may have begun releasing songs under her name in 2018, but she is far from a newcomer in making music. Before her solo career and membership as one half of indie-rock duo, Guyville, she formerly fronted the pop-rock band Manic Pixi but left the group in 2017. Now after five years since her first single, Hamilton is back with her second EP, I wish this was a love story.


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True to its title, the EP is highly personal, drawing from painful real-life experiences that Hamilton claims would sometimes bring her to tears during recording. The emotions show, showing off her ultra-specific lyricism and fragile vocals through so much vulnerability that it’s impossible to imagine anyone else producing the same results without having lived through similar experiences.

Opening on an idealized and romanticized note, “Lightning Bug” sounds straight out of a Disney soundtrack. The dreamy guitar is partially the reason why, bearing a resemblance to folk music more than the typical pop sound that the EP takes after. But that doesn’t make it an exception, as the song follows many familiar beats to other pop contemporaries.

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In one of the EP’s piano ballads, Hamilton warns of “Vultures” every time she tries to run. Unlike the opener, the lack of optimism redirects matters into a defeated place depicted more vividly due to the cinematic buildup in the first half. But Hamilton remains center stage across all tracks, with her voice dominating the recording and sometimes overpowering every other instrument in volume.

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It might be surprising that someone such as Hamilton, who’s operated in genres including but not limited to R&B, hip-hop, and country, would go in a traditional pop route for her solo outing. And while it is hard to distinguish the EP from countless other artists who’ve gone in similar directions, her vulnerability is what helps her stand out. What also helps is how in control of her music she is, having handled most of the production alongside Mitchell Haueszer. I wish this was a love story, in Hamilton’s own words, is sometimes “a love story, sometimes it’s everything else.” No matter the case, it is always honest.

Words: David Sosa

I wish this was a love story by Kat Hamilton is out on all streaming services. For more on Hamilton’s music, including her EP premier show at The Hotel Cafe on June 29, follow her on Instagram, TikTok, and her website.

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