The Chicago-based band Hawk is the most recent music project by Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter, guitarist and alt-country act Be founder David Hawkins. Their recent release I’m On Fire is a remastered, re-release of Hawk’s 2014 album. Hawkins, who leads the way with his vocals, guitar and Rhodes piano, is backed by Aaron Bakker, Tony McQuaid and Bill Phillippe (guitar), Ed Ludwig, Jeff Maslouski and Randy Morris (drums), and Regan Souders (bass).
The 11-tracked disc opens on “Mother Road” and a riff that leads one to believe that Hawk is tunefully tipping his hat to Lenny Kravitz. It’s a serious opener that gets your attention. Not to be confused with the hit Bruce Springsteen song from 1984, the titular “I’m On Fire”, is another 1970s retro-tinged original.
“Turn Up The Radio” makes it obvious that Hawkins is heavily into his own musical roots and that he is specifically striving for material that is perhaps a cross between those same lines and a bit of garage rock. “Enter The Sun” smacks of that same signature sound if not more so proving his consistency. It’s followed by “Topanga” which continues to demonstrate the same basic lyrical themes and rock influences.
The slightly lengthy “Sunshine” is a trippy track with a slightly psychedelic edge due in part to the tambura drone. The line: “I’ll take you where the sun don’t shine” opens it up to questions about Hawkins’ sense of humor and to potential misinterpretation by both critics and fans but, hey, it works.
“You And Me” brings back the rock but is perhaps slightly overshadowed by the next number, an early fave of online critics, “C´mon Edie” which is actually a tribute to his grandmother and her fragile memory. Not to be confused with 1983 hit by Spandau Ballet, this too is an original song among a group of otherwise obviously inspired audio offerings that strays slightly from the expected here and yet seems to be nigh perfect for the college radio crowd. Next is “Love Me Too” which signals the work is nearing the end and carries listeners into the closing cut “Higher” which aptly ends an album that often feels friendly, familiar and warm with a regularly retro-reflective signature sound.
You can pick up pieces of 60’s and 70’s among the occasional urge to go beyond within a disc solid with three-chord progressions and suitably-situated guitar solos. There is a definite respect here for classic rock acts like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Velvet Underground. So, before you “Turn Up The Radio”, check out Hawk’s latest platter I’m On Fire.