Death Hawks – Psychic Harmony

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label: Svart Records
Released: 2019
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Teemu Markkula – Vocals & Guitar,
Tenho Mattila – Keyboards & Sax,
Riku Pirttiniemi – Bass & Vocals,
Miikka Heikkinen – Drums.


1. Secret Isle
2. Like Lovers Do
3. Re-Run
4. Aleya
5. Synchronicity
6. Whisper
7. A Room With A View
8. Play For Rewind
9. Scent Of Life
10. I Am A Tree


“Jewels of Finland’s rising music treasures, DEATH HAWKS are soaring with ‘Psychic Harmony’, and your sonic flight on their sound waves will connect you to higher vibrations. DEATH HAWKS are out there on their ocean of sound, ready to lift you up when you feel like you’re slipping under.” How about that then, eh? Quite a bold statement there, so how do DEATH HAWKS fare?

With summer just around the corner, it’s paramount to find yourself a little summer soundtrack to jam to during those long evenings and endless barbecues. Well, maybe not paramount, but it’s always nice to have. So what’s the decision? Can’t go near commercial radio for obvious reasons, so how about a little psychedelia?

The most apparent thing when spinning their latest, “Psychic Harmony”, is that it feels so light and airy. With every track, you get the feeling of viewing life through a vintage filter – just a haze of sunshine and good times. There is a wonderfully balanced mix of genres, with psychedelic rock, disco and jazz all intermingling with aplomb. The ambience and trippy nature of “Aleya” sounds like a complete 60s retro rock jam until a trumpet turns up and changes things wholesale into the smooth jazz hour (well, minute). It’s a delightful turn, but one that’s incredibly welcome. When else can you have a different flavour thrown in, but it also work so delightfully well?

Elsewhere, “Whisper” makes like a stoned BEE GEES cut, yet never quite breaches into cheesy Saturday Night Fever territory, with the psychedelia taking a greater share of the stage on this occasion. DEATH HAWKS may dabble with some other genres here and there, but rest assured that they are squarely camped in with psychedelia – just look at “Scent Of Life”. A resplendent psychedelic rock track, with small hints of folk here and there, but aching to be heard in a field at a festival love-in. Now, there’s nothing to suggest that the enjoyment of this album would be greater enhanced by the addition of recreational drugs, ala those from the 60s, but who knows? Do get in touch, though, if you subsequently find out. You know. For science.

Now, the band’s Teemu Markkula had the following to say on their sound, which may go some way to explaining the album’s eclectic nature:

“We have always been searching new unforeseen ways in music to express ourselves. It is almost like a chemical reaction. Combining pieces of different elements can lead to an explosion or maybe to a state of euphoria. A sense of harmony is usually what does the trick for me. It’s a continuous quest for new. To get stuck, stay put, or stuck in reverse even is certain death. That’s why for us it’s better to stay lost (even) and keep flying and searching. Inspiration is a highly addictive feeling.”

Flying is certainly an impression one gets from the album – it soars, dips and dives all over the place, yet stays oddly serene and summery. It’s not really something that could be listened to in isolation, as the full album experience makes for greater enjoyment. Paradoxically, it may put some off with its sprawling, winding nature – there’s no hard, slamming riffs to see, but a broad, expansive sonic soundscape that begs for a beer in the garden sunshine.

To answer the earlier question, “pretty well” is how DEATH HAWKS fare. “Psychic Harmony” is quite the joyous little album that does not fail to uplift. Where else could brass instruments, psychedelia, disco and rock all mingle coherently, whilst also distilling the season of summer into musical form? It takes some of the greatest aural hallmarks from the 60s, 70s and 80s and weaves them into a new, mixed tapestry, yet never apes them. Give “Psychic Harmony” a spin and enjoy the retro vibes over a beer with friends in the sun (just remember the factor 50, you Vitamin D-deficient vampire).

Copyright © The Independent Voice 2019