Dustin Hamman, the brain behind Run On Sentence, is a man of many influences. “Carrie Pt.1,” the first track on Oh When the Wind Comes Down, jams quite a few of these into a very busy minute and fifty-one seconds. The song begins with calliope that evokes the world’s most decrepit ice cream truck. This fades away into Hamman delivering over-the-top Tin Pan Alley lyrics before ending the piece with some spirited yodeling. Run On Sentence then returns to Carrie for another round, offering a serviceable bit of Dixieland whose bouncy melody is sunk by the reedy sounding brass players or members of the band trying during production to sound like them. By the time Hamman serves up the third track, “November Nights,” you may be alienated or at the very least spatially displaced enough to put down the album.
To do so would be a great shame. After the rocky start, Hamman hits a stride. “November Nights,” eschews the affects of the previous songs in favor of a simple shuffling beat and provocative lyrics. Hamman sounds much better in this mode than maneuvering all over the musical map, and the song is easily the strongest on the album. Trite though it may seem, Hamman is able to find his true voice when he is not burdened with the yoke of novelty.
The rest of the songs on Oh When the Wind Comes Down veer back and forth between the more basic, interesting numbers and overcooked mush. Just when Hamman seems comfortable enough to perform without artifice, he throws in some distracting dialect or jazz riff. Even with these questionable choices, however, the songs that Hamman doesn’t overwrite shine through the staging. Like a real run-on sentence, Oh When the Wind Comes Down would have been much stronger with a little editing.