The Hawkins / ‘Live In The Woods’ is how music should be

19 January 2021

There is something wild in the woods, a mighty howl that speaks of something untamed. It is not all endless snowy vistas and sweepingly epic Rock in Sweden, if you stray off those bright white and safe pathways and head into the trees you may well find yourself face to face with something much more feral.

The Hawkins – Live In The Woods (The Sign Records)

Release Date: 29 January 2021

Words: Paul Monkhouse

Brought up as neighbours in a small town, The Hawkins take more from the hard edged Indie tinged Rock ‘n’ Roll of The Hives than the widescreen grandeur of Opeth, more barroom than the Royal Albert Hall.

Despite this more rough and ready approach, there is a real ambition here and the songs have a big sound, the sheer force of them having the same destructive force as a hurricane.

Things kick off with the raw ‘Hilow’ before the monstrous energy goes up a notch or two with the cool yet tough groove of ‘Stranger In The Next Room’.

With gigs not happening at the moment, it seems like the band have fully embraced this opportunity to play live together again and there is a real mania here, songs that were high powered before becoming nuclear fuelled. Such is the case with the bleak subject matter and real fire of ‘Black Gold’ and the explosive ‘Libertine’, drenched in feedback and pneumatic bass lines, the howl of Johannes Carlsson vocals matching the gnashing guitars that he and Mikael Thunborg are thrashing.

‘Roomer’ is a juddering Rock ‘n’ Roll wonder that displays the psychic link between rhythm section of Albin Grill and Martin Larsson, locking together as if hewn from the selfsame slab of granite.

There is more foot to the floor action in ‘Cut Moon Bleeds’ before things climax with the multi layered and multi-faceted ‘Fisherman’s Blues’, the last track filling out the sound with female backing vocals and displaying the superb craftsmanship of their writing.

With the same dynamic grasp, drive and grace as shown by the Foo Fighters, the band know how to turn up the heat and yet give space for things to breathe, the music most definitely doing the talking.

A hugely enjoyable slab of propulsive mayhem, ‘Live In The Woods’ is how music should be and shows that The Hawkins are yet another in the great line of peerless bands from Sweden.

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