Review: Blue-Eyed Hawk – Under The Moon

Blue-Eyed Hawk
Under The Moon
(1) Oyster Trails; Somewhere; Aurora 5AM; (2) Spiderton; O Do Not Love Too Long; Reflections On The Spiral; (3) Living In The Fast Lane; Intro (For Fathers); For Tom And Everything; Try To Turn Back; Valediction (56.54)
(1) Lauren Kinsella (v); Laura Jurd (t, syn, v); Alex Roth (g, elg, syn, v); Corrie Dick (d, pc, harm, p, v). (2) with Tom Herbert (b). (3) with Tom Herbert (syn). Giant Wafer Studios, Wales, 14–17 April 2014.
Edition EDN1054

Blue-Eyed Hawk are a young London-based quartet with a fondness for poetry and a refreshing lack of respect for musical genre. Their name comes from a line in W.B Yeats’ Under the Moon, making the title for this, their debut album, an obvious choice. That’s where the obvious ends, however, because there’s nothing predictable about the music. On the contrary, Under the Moon is impossible to pigeonhole. It’s an album of twists and turns that toys with your expectations to the extent that you never quite know what’s coming next.

‘Aurora 5AM’ is, in its essence, a pop ballad with a tender vocal and the sort of melody that swims around in your head for hours afterwards. It’s a little sugary perhaps, but develops into a cleverly worked vamp of overlapping lines and subtle off kilter rhythms that banishes any sense of cliché. ‘Living In The Fast Lane’ is rocky and schizophrenic, anchored by a catchy overdriven chorus, while ‘O Do Not Love Too Long’, ‘Reflections On The Spiral’ and ‘Intro (For Fathers)’ are ambient masterpieces, folk-infused and restless.

‘Somewhere’, a trippy, dystopian rendering of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ heavy on the effects, is likely to divide opinion and I’m still in two minds about ‘Spiderton’ (though the scat vocal and trumpet introduction with its undercurrent of wobbly, flatulent synth is great fun). Even so, this is a formidable first release, an album that demands to be played repeatedly and that encourages you to listen more widely to better understand its gloriously eclectic influences.

– Thomas Rees

This article was published in Jazz Journal in January 2015, Vol 68 No.1

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