It has been three years since Hawk Eyes’ last full length release “Ideas”. However, despite receiving almost universal critical acclaim in the mainstream music press, the album only sold modestly. This eventually left the band without a major label, forcing them to adopt the more DIY approach in their following EP “What Is This”.
I have very much enjoyed all of Hawk Eyes’ offerings to this date, so was really looking forward to getting my hands on “Everything is Fine”. On first listen I was not entirely sure of how much I liked it, due to how different it was from their previous releases. Initially the album lacked some of the manic energy from songs like “Hollywood Sweatshop” and “You Deserve a Medal” from “Ideas”. Despite this, upon further listens the album began to grow on me and I found I very much enjoyed the new approach. While being a little tamer than Ideas perhaps, most of the heaviness is still there and the focus seems to have shifted slightly to making the songs more concise and cohesive.
The band’s signature guitar sound is back and better than ever in my opinion: their continuing work with producer Andy Hawkins is really paying off, his touch giving the album some of the best guitar sounds I have heard in a long time. This is particularly apparent on tracks “The Trap” and “More Than a Million“. The drums and bass are also clear and well placed in the mix and serve the songs very well thought the album.
Vocally the album is not a huge departure from their previous work, which for me is a good thing as I have always enjoyed Paul Astick’s vocal style and the lyrical content found in Hawk Eyes’ back catalogue. They continue exploring themes of disillusionment with modern society, as well as some songs with what I would assume were slightly more personal themes. I would think of it in terms of following similar themes to much of the alternate music of the early 90’s, something that really excites me since I’m a fan of the time period.
Despite my initial reservations I really like “Everything is Fine” and think that I will be listening to it for a long time to come just like I did with “Ideas”. I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of alternate rock or metal as the band has such a unique and distinct sound that I think they are well worth giving a try and “Everything is Fine” is a great place to start.
~ Robert Appleton