Rising from the ashes of their previous band name Chickenhawk, ‘Ideas’ is Hawk Eyes‘ first full-length following the release of last year’s ‘Mindhammers’ EP under this fresh moniker. Unlike the name, there is very little that’s fresh about ‘Ideas’, but more of a rework of previous material.
The record opens to ‘Witchhunt’, one of the more structurally standard tracks consisting of verse, chorus, change. This isn’t a bad thing. The thick guitar tone and blistering riffs carry the track whilst the explosive vocals add an element of catchiness. The gradual build up is also executed perfectly into a simple yet effective guitar solo/breakdown. However, the catchy simplicity ends here.
Choppy, technically-impressive math-rock bombards you, rarely giving you time to get into one solid groove. You are tantalised by noisy Queens Of The Stone Age-esque riffs, which are cut short by odd bridges and changes, completely killing any vibe that was created. The main riff in ‘Headstrung’ gives the track a delicious psychedelic stoner rock feel, which opens up into a chorus that would have any crowd singing at the top of their lungs. However, annoyingly, from out of nowhere, an interlude of guitar tapping interrupts any rock ‘n’ roll quality that the riff worked so hard to create, ruining the track.
Aptly named, ‘Ideas’ is chock full of attempts to refrain from becoming dull and boring, but this ultimately detracts from the record actually sounding good, which surely is the whole point. The riffs that are in there are mind-bending, acidic, groove-laden, stompers, but their majesty is dethroned by the irritating cuts and chops; essentially pissing about with it too much.
The disease of stagnating, creatively can push musicians to go further but it can also damage them. On this occasion, it feels like Hawk Eyes have been struck with the illness but have unfortunately over-medicated. The record feels like a panicked recycle of previous releases with added, over-the-top attempts to catch the attention of the listener. ‘Bears By The Head’, thankfully, doesn’t follow this trend and is packed full of tearing riffs, interestingly noisy lead parts and huge vocal hooks – the superior track of the record.
Hawk Eyes haven’t yet revealed what they’re capable of producing. It’s just refining their sound and not letting the experimental side of the music getting in the way of creating bangers. ‘Ideas’ certainly does attempt to push the boundaries of rock and metal, but it lacks consistency. Before you’ve had time to appreciate one riff, you’re dropped into a blitzkrieg of whiny, clanging melodies which befoul the overall sound.
Written by Jack Birch