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- Black Domino Box EP by H. Hawkline
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When I first clapped eyes on this EP I thought it was going to be some kind of dark experimental weirdpop, what with the impenetrable cut’n’paste front cover and illegible gothy typefaces, but actually when I put the needle to the groove what I’ve got on my hands is a piece of gentle, laid back slacker pop which is bringing to mind Real Estate, Band of Horses, early Of Montreal, and even a trace of Shadows-esque shuffling pop purity. Hawkline’s silky, rich baritone is reminding me of Neil Hannon but the compositions are more skeletal and almost post-punky compared to Hannon’s arranged Divine Comedy pomp.Gruff Rhys is twiddling the knobs on here too so you won’t be surprised to hear that there’s more than a touch of his understated psych-pop genius in places here, and there’s a section towards the end of the ‘Black Mulk’ which gets quite out-there and experimental before ‘Broken Fingers’ brings us back to earth with a Syd Barrett-meets-The Intelligence blast of pastoral scuzz-psych that wouldn’t seem out of place on a Ty Segall record. I think this one’s my highlight of the EP for me, although the more shuffly lounge-pop and psychedelic stylings elsewhere are entirely endearing too. Definitely a name to watch out for.
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