Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hawks Do Not Share on CD

This one's been sneaking into my head lately, a combination of Supreme Beings of Leisure and the Notwist, a dreamy album that it perhaps so memorable because it's so different from so much of guitar-driven, angular music out there. This is smooth stuff, more ethereal than danceable, yet it draws from so many unlikely sources--most of them from just fifteen or twenty years ago.

Hawks Do Not Share, which consists of multi-instrumentalists George Lewis III, Jeremy Wilkins and Britt White, is the result of longtime musician friends who delved into a more acoustic sound independently but found that their collaboration yielded a more spacy, programmed vibe. This, their debut album, is filled with many nods to synth-rock from the late '80s and early '90s, from a twangy New Order guitar riff in "Over Our Shoulders" to a straight, piano-laden ballad ("Christmas Eve, Montmartre") that sounds like it might have been written for Morrissey, or perhaps even Alison Moyet. (Lewis' sometimes dramatic vocals are only slightly huskier than the latter, especially when White sings backing vocals.) You'll even recognize a little mid-90s Yo La Tengo, with drum samples of course, in the instrumental ("Forgiveness") that opens the album. With Georgia Hubley on drums, it could sound like an actual outtake from I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One.

The real stand-out song on the album, released as the first single, is the tense "Break Even." Its spy-film aura is pasted to a meaty, arrogant synthesizer riff that could be lifted from a dozen bands from the '80s--you know, the cool ones that have aged well. The clangy, spacious background is straight out of the 4AD instruction booklet, making this catchy song sound like it was recorded in the same space as Cocteau Twins' Blue Bell Knoll. (It's been a few years since I've worked in a BBK reference!)

Hawks Do Not Share is something relative rare in this day and age--a band that works in the darker corners of the room, immortalizing the music you've forgotten over the last few years. Even better, it's performed without the nasty edge that characterizes so much modern music--something that's calculated to trick you into thinking you're listening to something contemporary. The HDNS Express will take you straight to where you want to go, especially if you're in the mood for something that's, well, moody.

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