Inspired by the early solo work of Paul Mccartney and taking his name from American author Richard Brautigan’s The Hawkline Monster, this stunning album from H Hawkline is his first full LP on Heavenly Recordings, and the third album from Huw Gwynfryn Evans. Clever wordplay and sharp smart guitars. Surreal, clever, melodic, weird pop music. On vinyl and CD.
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I adore the name Huw. I really like most things Welsh apart from Stereophonics. Or climbing Mt. Snowdon in an icy gale in January with a poorly knee. This album is made by a modern Welsh genius called Huw Evans and his obscure DIY releases thus far have been creeping out over the last half-decade on a bewildering array of tiny labels. The fully revived and spunky Heavenly records have signed this gem of a songwriter now so he may actually get some well-deserved kudos from the wider arena. If he doesn't you are all either totally heartless and/or deaf as a bloody post. This is his first album for them legendary big-hitting guys and it has given the grumpy and jaded Brian a genuine lift in the last few weeks.
I don't know where to start, he's one of those super-clever multi-instrumentalist types that obviously wakes up in the morning with a head-full of vivid, wild trippy dreams that he sleepily translates and arranges into unbelievably well crafted lo-fi pop miniatures that are saturated with melodic charm and impish surrealist mischief. His lyrics are daft, funny and eccentric, his voice marked with a delightful Welsh lilt then there's the tunes......proper consistently strong and memorable songs that just keep on coming at you metaphorically like eternally galloping giddy Labrador puppies, splish-sploshing around your ears in a swimming pool on drugs or the musical equivalent of your partner softly jumping on you to wake up, get da fuck outta bed and come out to play. It's proper FUN. Even the sad songs are FUN. I love this man to pieces.
'In The Pink of Condition' is the perfect antidote to the currently glum (and bloody freezing) outside world, being a spot-on amalgam of classic British song-writing that evokes strong thoughts of Ray Davies, Syd Barratt, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, David Byrne, (the thankfully recovering) Daevid Allen and as Clint so astutely recalled, the massively underrated new-wavers The Monochrome Set. Paul McCartney (II-era) is also a valid touchstone. Gruff Rhys is again an obvious influence but I dig this guy's songs a lot more. I could never write a big sprawling turgid article on an album with songs as consistently strong, beautiful, catchy and memorable as these. Life should have some surprises yeah? It's a somewhat berserk and exciting proposition and is a perfect 12 songs long , effortlessly jumping from, say, the frantic, breathless 'Ringfinger' to the gently purring intimate beauty of 'In Love'; sparingly deployed piano, acoustic guitar and whirring organ framing his comforting melancholic tones.
This entire explosive set is a faintly unhinged, wonky, and gently psychedelic blast from start to finish and most importantly his blend of styles: the trebly, deranged guitar playing, the garage psych mushroom-head softness and overall easy-going playful intimacy of this record will surprise quite a few folk in 2015. If I don't catch him live soon I may weep.
9/10 Max Customer review, 18th February 2015
Whilst slumped on a friends sofa and hanging from Friday night's no food and all drink, I stumbled upon Hawklines Black Domino Box single on Soundcloud. My attention span was limited but managed to become hooked enough by the mix of smooth melodies and heavy pyschedlic bursts to buy the EP. I'm a sucker for cover art as well so that probably played a part.
I'd been itching for more music from this guy for a while but the first listens of Moons In My Mirror and Ringfinger got me thinking this was a bigger pop venture and I've always been weird with pop music. At the same time, I'm a bit of tard and think too much, the first listen to the LP quickly shut me up.
It's hard not to shout the lyrics and air guitar in my other halfs face so I'm sure that means it's a pretty awesome investment.
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- In The Pink Of Condition by H Hawkline
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