There must be something in the Yorkshire water that creates bands that offer something a little bit different. Since as long as I can remember some of the most creative and original alternative acts around have been produced in Leeds and the surrounding area, from Fig 4.0 and Dugong to Send more Paramedics and Pulled Apart By Horses. Hawk Eyes can very much be included in the same bracket.
Previously known as Chickenhawk, Hawk Eyes have been doing the rounds for over ten years and ‘Everything is Fine’ is their third studio album. If you’re a regular and long time gig goer the chances are these guys will have been on your radar at some point, and whilst they haven’t been a household name up until now, you get the feeling that could all swiftly change.
First track ‘The Trap’ is unexpected in that the band that it evokes is most definitely Tool. The thudding, urgent bassline drives the music forwards, whilst rolling fills and drawn out, large vocals chase the sound into a cacophony of metal riffs.
However this is not really a metal album. Next comes ‘The Ambassador’ which is which is a much less organised affair. It’s maniacal, fuzzy, scuzzy and defiant with a real rock n roll attitude flowing through the still crushingly heavy riffs. As it hits the bridge you’re hit by a riff which is absolutely one of the grooviest things you’ve heard in ages and you know you’re dealing with some really talented musicians right here.
If like me you enjoy the unhinged, magnificent chaos that is Pulled Apart By Horses then this is definitely going to be up your street. Another thing they share with their Yorkshire brethren is a transition from a sound more suited to dingy dives and squat shows towards something that could sound huge on a much larger stage. Hawk Eyes have ambition and they’re not afraid for you to know about it.
There are times, like on title track ‘Everything is Fine,’ where you feel like they could reel in the crazy a little – maybe it sounds a little TOO loose and those wonderfully crafted riffs would be better suited to something with a little more structure. But then again taming rock music just seems like a totally stupid idea, so actually yeah forget all that.
Hawk Eyes have created a record which meets the worlds of rock’n’roll, metal and post-rock quite deliciously and spice it all up with a healthy seasoning of North Yorkshire which unmistakably stamps its character on their music. It’s good to start a new year with a fantastic release that whets your appetite for the months to come – we’ve had to wait until February but this one delivers in spades.
‘Everything is Fine’ by Hawk Eyes is out now.
Words by Alex Phelan (@listen_to_alex)