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The Hawkins – Live In The Woods Award winner

The Hawkins
Live In The Woods
by Kenn Staub at 12 February 2021, 9:56 AM

What if QUEEN and nitroglycerin had a love child? According to their website, the answer to that question would be the SWEDISH quartet, THE HAWKINS. These Swedes pride themselves on playing rock-and-roll that features ingenuitive vocal melodies, slick guitar parts, and groovy rhythm signatures. All these elements can be heard on “Live In The Woods;” released January 29 and recorded variously in the woods (the first three four tracks), at Brasstacks Brewing (the fifth and sixth tracks), and in a barn (the last track).

The opener, “Hillow” is a straight ahead rock song based around a catchy melody that is easy to like and tap your foot along with. The track, with its popish feel, is ear candy and does exactly what the first song on any album should do; it pulls you in and leaves you wanting more. “Stanger In The Next Room” comes at you in bursts, unaccompanied vocals interspersed with blasts of guitar. This track is harder and played with more urgency than the preceding number. I’d have to describe “Black Gold” as folkish punk, the tune melodically races right along à la FLOGGING MOLLY. “The woods” section of the album closes with “Libertine,” a catchy uptempo tune with bluesy elements. Martin Larsson’s bass underscores the track to great effect.

Roomer” and “Cut Moon Bleeds” represent “the brewery” part of the album. Clocking in at a little over two minutes, “Roomer” begins with Johannes Carlson’s vocals accompanied by minimal percussive elements. Don’t be lulled, as soon after the track blows up and hits its full rock stride. Albin Grill’s drumming and Larsson’s bass serve to accent “Cut Moon Bleeds,” a song that has spare instrumentation until it reaches the choruses, which are big and bold.

The final song, “Fisherman Blues,” was recorded in a barn. It’s a stylistically diverse number, so much so that at times the track has a “fits and starts” quality. Beginning atmospherically, it transitions into having an almost thrash-like feel, after which it becomes a slower, more methodical banger. From there “Fisherman Blues’s” more atmospheric elements are dialed-up, seguing into an uptempo rock interval before taking on a grand, almost orchestral tone. There is a lot going on in this track, some of which I really enjoyed (the part I described as a “methodical banger”) and some not so much (I could have skipped the 40 second outro).

Live In The Woods” is a first-rate, well-produced live album. The members of THE HAWKINS perform as a cohesive unit, working together to play sometimes intricate, sometimes basic, but always straight forward hard rock music. Based on this 27 minute platter, THE HAWKINS must certainly be a treat to see live.

Musicianship: 9
Songwriting: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Hillow
2. Stranger In The Next Room
3. Black Gold
4. Libertine
5. Roomer
6. Cut Moon Bleeds
7. Fisherman Blues
Lineup:
Johannes Carlson – Guitar/Lead Vocals
Mikael Thunborg – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Martin Larsson – Bass/Backing Vocals
Albin Grill – Drums/Backing Vocals
Record Label: The Sign Records
     


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Edited 02 August 2021
 

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