Johannes Carlsson: Guitars/Lead vocals
Mikael Thunborg: Guitars/Backing vocals
Martin Larsson: Bass/Backing vocals
Albin Grill: Drums/Backing vocal
01. Silence is a Bomb
07. Cut Moon Bleeds
09. Stranger in the Next Room
10. Black Gold
11. Fisherman Blues
12. All My Birds Are Dead
Undoubtedly, there is a bold confidence among The Hawkins.
“Imagine if Queen and nitro glycerine had a love child,” they exclaim, before adding, “The Hawkins will make you say, “Damn, that song is stuck in my head” after a single listen! This is a pure musical explosion! The Hawkins is that band you did not know you were longing for!”
The band’s boldness is not just limited to the way they describe their approach. Pushing play on their latest release drops you into an energised and self assured performance featuring 12 upbeat tunes of punkish rock and roll. The fact they mention Queen as a benchmark is not just a grand claim; there IS something a little Mercury-esque about the way Johannes Carlsson‘s voice soars and sweeps through the verses of the opening track, while his bandmates add vocal layers and colour to the sizzling music.
As the album goes on, the music settles into something driving and crunchy. As far as the production goes, it’s very commercial sounding. For those looking for further references, I’m reminded of bands like Weezer and The Hives (add a touch of The Killers, The Darkness and for unexpected spice, a tiny squeeze of At The Drive In).
The arrangements are light and poppy with a strong emphasis on melody. It’s fair to say, the musicianship is impeccable. Abin Grill’s drums snap along with Larsson’s bass to create a lean momentum underneath the guitar melodies. There’s a sense that this would go down really well among the high spirits of a festival crowd.
It’s all very upbeat and fun, which is at odds with the lyrical content. For example, regarding, Roomer (the lead single), the band have explained how despite it’s jaunty tempo and chiming guitars, “this song is essentially about coping with social anxiety by isolation.” Also, on the country tinged Black Gold, Carlsson sings how “Some days when I wake up and I’m spitting blood, I’m wishing for cancer to come!”
It is clear there is something dark underpinning the party atmosphere and on the latter half of the album this comes out in the music more so than it did at first. Stranger In The Next Room changes the tempo to a sassy strut that implies an emerging toughness; elsewhere Fisherman’s Blues matches the albums lyrical grit with some suitably spiteful aggression and All My Birds Are Dead brings the album to a close in a mixture of bellowed defiance and melancholy.
Silence Is A Bomb is an interesting album and one that appears to have many layers. On the surface it’s a bouncing pop/rock record, it’s a “getting ready to go out” record, it’s a “pile into the van and head to the barbeque” record – the band themselves describe it as capturing “a fun-loving, positive spirit that’s just what 2020 needs!” – however, dig a bit deeper and it reveals more…
It’s a vulnerable record. It’s a “putting on a brave face when things aren’t quite right,” record and it is this contrast that ultimately makes it a very compelling record, worth exploring.
Review By Beandog