Thursday 28 October 2021

Hamish Hawk - Heavy Elevator

Edit:  After first publishing this, I discover that both my research and assumptions are flawed.
This is not Hamish Hawk's debut release, it is in fact his third - preceded by 'Aznavour' (2014) an 'Zero To One' (2018).
I have therefore modified the text to rectify my error (and left in the original text to remind me I am a fool, and should research properly in future)

Releasing your debut a new album can be a daunting task.  Without mass media hype, major record company support, or a persuasive sponsor and advocate, a relatively low key release on a minor, self-funded label is always going to be a risk.

But if you have a song titled "The Mauritian Badminton Doubles Champion 1973" in your cannon, then I'm going to want to hear the whole album.
Credit where it's due, it was Chris Hawkins enthusing on Radio 6, and the playing of the above track that piqued my interest, and now the album has arrived on my doormat ... I am not disappoint.

I sometimes feel when writing this drivel, that I do the artist in question a dis-service when I compare them to others.  But I need a hook ... imagine Scott Walker grafted to Morrissey, with a bit of Neil Hannon thrown in.  Oh, and passing nods to Echo & The Bunnymen, New Order, and Joy Division.  Even a whiff of Pink Floyd for good measure.

11 tracks ranging from all out Indie rockers ("Bakerloo, Unbecoming") to introspection ("New Rhododendrons") to Post-Punk ("Caterpillar") and many points between.

If I'm honest, the album doesn't follow the mix-tape rule of "open with a banger" - "Vivian Comma" is a slight and brittle track.  I'd like a bit of oomph, which creeps in on Track 2 (the wonderfully titled "This, Whatever It Is, Needs Improvement"), and the fully oomphed with Track 3 ("The Mauritian Badminton Doubles Champion 1973") with it's jangling guitar, strong vocal, wordy and literate verses bolted to an incessant chorus.

Each track has it's own identity, rarely (if ever) do you stumble on a slight nick from somewhere, or a re-use of a past trick,but the voice and the lyrics remain strong.  Hamish Hawk may well come from the school of "can I just lever all these words into a line when it shouldn't actually fit" - and he does, and successfully too.

Not only is the album diverse and consistent, it's all delivered with a sure confidence and a little intensity - I dunno, this feels like it might just be one of those unimpeachable debut albums that will be the making of Mr Hawk's legacy.
And I'm looking to the future with bated breath.

I thought I'd got my Top Albums Of The Year List almost sorted, but now there is another worthy contender vying for inclusion

The Mauritian Badminton Doubles Champion 1973

Bakerloo, Unbecoming

New Rhodedendrons


  1. Really looking forward to this one. Received an email this morning telling me it's on the way.

  2. Completely new to me (where have I been?), but sounding excellent, and ordered on the strength of the songs featured here. Cheers!

  3. Yeah, this is a great record (although some debate over whether it's a debut, based on his bandcamp page). The CD isn't widely available though... only through his website, which appears to use an extremely high priced postal service. Or maybe I'm getting even more Scroogey in my old age.

    1. I got it form Sister Ray. Originally I tried via his Web page which took me to Assai Recordings who would reserve a copy for me to collect ... at their Edibrugh shop.
      Only mp3 on Amazon, but I must go and look at bandcamp (didn't think of that one)

    2. Thank you. You encouraged me to cast my net a little wider and found one that wasn't being posted via armed guard.

  4. This does contain one of my favourite lines of the year though, on Calls To Tiree...

    "For years I was Lennon's Imagine, track 3..."

    It was an effort to go look up what track 3 is on Imagine, but it paid off.