REVIEW: Welcome to the Batlands by Ethan Hanna

The forthcoming (October 5th), WELCOME TO THE BATLANDS, is the first installment of ETHAN HANNA’s BATLANDS PROJECT. The project will feature visuals, artwork, written pieces and music.

WELCOME TO THE BATLANDS opens with “BIKES & CARS”…a confession so to speak. In this song Ethan just speaks his truth. Truth about himself (I’ve been singing out of the corner of my mouth for a while now. Some sort of Connery smirk I’ve seem to have found.) Truth about his family. (My whole family’s love for racing bikes and cars.) It’s a beautiful ode to those around him and to his own sense of self.

pretty vacant one welcome to the batlands Ethan hanna

We reviewed PERFECT before and we still love how the initial opening strums of the guitar seduces you in and then hits you full force with rock. Ethan’s voice is reminiscent to BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and MATTHEW RYAN. It is the “perfect” single to make someone fall in love with Ethan’s music. (pun intended)

Track 3 is “LATE AUGUST WONDER”, while this song is nothing like JOHN DENVER‘s “COUNTRY ROAD”, I get the same sense of longing for home when I hear this song. A man standing at the crossroads of life and wondering which road will take him to where his heart will be at home. It’s simply poetic and beautiful.

“PROUD” is where Ethan’s story telling shines. Every word used is perfection and this song is so descriptive that you can see exactly what is happening in your mind’s eye.

I love the opening line to “TROUBLE” …

We should’ve just surrendered the house to all the demons…

You know from those lyrics the journey you are about to take. This might be my favorite song from WELCOME TO THE BATLANDS because it is a man facing his own demons…inner and outer and surviving.

I think Springsteen fans would appreciate “DREAM LAST NIGHT” a lot. It is in the vein of The Boss’ “Atlantic City”. Musically, the song features a quiet bass line that hooks you and crunchy guitars that tear out your soul. It is a strong middle of the album track. You can’t help but want more by this point.

“FIRE” is the definition of juxtaposition: it is both a song that is discreet and a song with loud guitars. You have moments of quiet and loud and they fit beautifully together while expressing the relationship of a “guy in the band” and the “girl who’s in love with him against her father’s ideology”.

“BAD DREAMS” is only 2:11 long and is mostly Ethan strumming a guitar confessing that he gets a lot of bad dreams. Anyone who has ever had bad dreams can connect to this song as it’s how we all feel upon waking up. It could even be a lullaby of sorts to put one back to sleep.

On the opposite end of the spectrum of “BAD DREAMS” comes “SHADOW CITY”. As a fan of MATTHEW RYAN, Ethan’s lyrics in this song and the chorus gives me the vibe of Matthew’s song “IRRELEVANT”. The guitar wails, calling for your soul to come along a journey to find a moment of peace.

A piano, a guitar, and Ethan’s voice is all you get for “PASSENGER SEAT” and not much more is needed. It is a great ode to the person you hope will accompany you on your journey in life.

Like the track before it, “NOW YOU’RE IN NEW YORK” is just Ethan and a guitar and as it starts, you know the album is coming to end as it just gives off the vibe of closure. Words to a love from a far. What makes this song stand out is the “church” like “chorus”…an epiphany…a good bye…maybe a hello. It’s a simple song that is stunning.

Closing out WELCOME TO THE BATLANDS is “REPRISE”, a closes out short instrumental that wraps up the entire album.

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Cover art designed by Ethan Hanna

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