After a seemingly self-imposed hiatus, Leeds quartet Hawk Eyes have returned with their fourth full-length effort, ‘Advice’.
Drawing on a variety of influences and tapping into the dissatisfaction of unsolicited advice, the quartet have created a record that moves towards more musical experimentation compared to their previous releases.
Opening with thick distortion and grooving riffs, ‘Royal Trouble’ embodies an alternative rock vibe. Holding onto John MacKenzie‘s pounding drums, the track moves around sliding grooves, stop start chords, and driving lead guitar lines.
A riff-heavy record, ‘Follow Me’ employs unique guitar tones and crunching distortion to offset Ryan Clark‘s slinking bass lines. Clark dominates the majority of the song, allowing space for Paul Astick‘s croon to stand between the bursts of distortion. A dense and weaving track, whilst cramming in shoegaze style bridges and octave heavy solos, it doesn’t once let up.
Taking the energy down on ‘New Greek Fire’, guitarist Robert Stevens leans on sliding chords and disjointed riffs to drive Astick‘s hooks home. Peppered with jazz influenced fills and distorted samples, the track shows a new experimental side to the group whilst holding onto their hook laden structures.
The group’s strengths are showcased on ‘Perfect Again’ as Steven‘s riff works in tandem with Astick‘s vocals before unfolding a bright and weaving chorus. Sliding into harmonised bridges and cycling grooves at a moments notice, the track takes left turns deftly and coherently, whilst keeping the focus on the solid hook that permeates it.
Whilst cuts such as the record’s titular track take the distortion down a notch, the subtle melodies and the winding lead guitar solo makes it an intriguing listen. Upon a first take, it may seem a left turn for the group, but with its placement within and in the context of the record, it helps transition towards the unexpected ‘Smokes’.
Narrated by Richard O’Brian, the track is heavily influenced by his musical style, to avoid it being disjointed and uneven, as Hawk Eyes inject thick chords and Astick‘s impassioned vocals. It may not be an essential addition to their catalogue, but ‘Smokes’ certainly makes for an intriguing listen.
After taking some time away, Hawk Eyes have come back bolder and riskier, whilst fans of previous records may compare ‘Advice’ to ‘Everything Is Fine’, which would be redundant. Armed with an abundance of riffs, hooks, and a willingness to explore, Hawk Eyes have presented a record that creates a new and vibrant chapter in their career.