'The Hat' combines jam-rock, Americana, and southern boogie in a satisfying way--less wanking and more substance than your average Jambase-friendly band. "This Town" is a country-tinged roots number that wouldn't sound out of place on a Jay Farrar/Son Volt album. Likewise, "Saint in Tattered Clothes", with its banjo, mandolin, lap steel, and lyrical content, further displays the band's occasional affinity for the alternative-country genre. Continuing along these true roots lines, "Dig Me a Grave" is fondly reminiscent of Neil Young's (or even Gram Parsons') brand of country-rock, sounding almost like a revivalist rave-up.
Medicine Hat still rocks, however-- "Dopesick" struts like a Stonesy "Exile On Main St"-era barroom romp. With "Green Station Shuffle", the band creates its most infectious groove to date, and "Hello Again" is English-tinged pop rock, not too far removed from The Kinks. The band even turns in a soulful rocker, a la the Black Crowes, or even The Allman Brothers, with the heartfelt "Seven Sundays". There are other little rough gems hidden in "Hymns..." as well, but they're not hard to find.
The best thing about the album is, while paying homage to their numerous influences, it never feels like Medicine Hat are trying to cop anybody's sound-they've created one they can call their own....
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2. This Town
3. Green Station Shuffle
4. Saint In Tattered Clothes
5. I Would Pay The Devil For Your Heart
6. Bad Dog Blues
7. When You Win
8. Hello Again
9. Seven Sundays
10. Dig Me A Grave