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Angel Numbers is a celebration of idiosyncrasy from Hamish Hawk

"Angel Numbers"

Release date: 03 February 2023
Hamish Hawk - Angel Numbers cover
02 February 2023, 00:00 Written by Craig Howieson

Hamish Hawk is somewhat of a conundrum.

A musical Rubik's cube, just when you think you have him figured out, one twist of the bricks sends the colours scattering into a twisted collage. His 2021 breakthrough, Heavy Elevator, was a joyous indie-pop romp. But despite its flashes of familiarity, as a record it was very hard to pin down. Pulp, The Magnetic Fields and even Smog are apt reference points, but Hawk is not – nor does he try to be like – them.

Angel Numbers is a continuation of his ability to confound. While its predecessor may have been years in the making, consisting of songs compiled and tailored over a lifetime, Angel Numbers was written entirely in its wake. The result is twelve songs with an even greater sense of cohesion, and displaying an exploratory nature resulting from having less time to second guess himself.

The ghostly bellow of harmonium that sits under his lustrous duet with Anna B Savage on “Frontman” finds the pair sat in a wind battered croft, facing an unknown future blowing in on harsh winds. And Savage is not the only welcome addition to the record. “Rest and Veneers”, featuring Samantha Crain, follows Hawk through America's southern states. A poignant, platonic love song, dressed up as a cattle ranch waltz, it perfectly balances the arresting voices of the pair.

With large chunks of the record being written under lockdown, Hawks lyrics are born from lonely nights spent in dull flats in front of the TV. But his imagination has not been curtailed by physical constraints. His words are infused with a worldwide wonder that, when paired with his musical compositions, become magniloquent clarion calls for those who vie for some surrealist, yet relatable, escape.

Hawk writes like a poet, and as such you often have to dig harder to find his meaning, or even better apply your own. But these are everyday tales dressed up in finery that will embed them into your mind. The barrel chested “Elvis Lookalike Shadows" finds Hawk stepping into the shoes of the risen king with a confident swagger. Striding centre stage amidst a fanfare of chiming guitars and brass blasts. “Desperately,” one of the album's unassuming highlights, is a gradual build to an explosion of heartland rock. The magnitude of Angel Numbers' more boisterous numbers allows the more contemplative moments like “Bill” and “Grey Seals” to shine in their own right.

Restless but never overwrought, flamboyant but without a trace of flippancy, Hawk is a welcome antidote for the mundanity of modern living.

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