Hawk and a Hacksaw

Hawk and a Hacksaw

Hawk and a Hacksaw

Délivrance

Leaf Label

“…like Beirut” was the bemused response several times when I tried to explain the new Hawk and a Hacksaw album playing on my stereo. No, actually, not like Beirut at all. Zach Condon only dipped his pinky toe into the music of Eastern Europe and even then he yoked it to more traditional Western Pop song structures. Hawk and a Hacksaw are a far more convincing prospect of Western musicians immersing themselves joyfully in foreign climes. They’ve been doing it since 2004’s self-titled album in varying lineups and forms — all coalescing around central members Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost — and the itinerant travelers even relocated full time to Budapest in 2007 to further expand upon the music of the A Hawk And A Hacksaw And The Hun Hangár Ensemble EP and to better absorb the sounds and vibes floating all around them. Barnes and Trost employ a score of backing musicians on the album, at times swelling their humble duo into a full-on orchestra conjuring up raucous flailing dances and marches like in buoyant opener “Foni tu Argile.”

Délivrance is a mix of wildly-taken liberties with traditional numbers reconfigured into full-on freaked out raveups and fully weird original numbers. The recordings are in turns visceral and low-fi and deliciously full and rich — but everything feels utterly live and organic with so many sympathetic nods and vamps and telepathic interplay between the players.

“Foni Tu Argile’s” tempo is punkishly lightspeed fast, almost sounding like the tape was accidentally sped up; the vibe is pure cartoony lunacy with the oompah accordion played as fast as early Napalm Death’s guitar lines. Ditto with “The Man Who Sold His Beard ” and “Hummingbirds.” It’s a dizzying effect, old-world musical sensibilities coming at you with grindcore velocity, and my foot taps manically. “I Am Not A Gambling Man” is a wonderfully-sauced tableau, slurring along unsteadily back and forth, with Barnes playing his role to the hilt, and violin and sharp organ commiserating with the trauma of hunting season canceled. “Zibiciu” is like hardcore punk done with an accordion, hell, a bunch of accordions in delightful unison. “Vasalisa Carries A Flaming Skull Through The Forest” starts out with a vaguely Middle-Eastern flair before losing its sea legs and collapsing into a melancholy haze — a gonzo mix of high comedy and creeping menace. Sorry, I don’t have the vocabulary to describe the various instruments. Demento woulda loved it.

Impossibly exotic and ecstatic and mad-eyed.

Leaf Label: www.theleaflabel.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • General Magic
    General Magic

    General Magic invented the smart phone in 2002, but just couldn’t get it to market. That’s just how they rolled.

  • Blue October
    Blue October

    Alternative 90s rockers Blue October rolled into Central Florida for a two-night run at House of Blues, and Michelle Wilson was blown away.

  • Pahokee
    Pahokee

    Pahokee produces sugar cane and poverty, but some the brighter students might make it to the big time with a college degree and a new zip code.

  • Sumo Princess
    Sumo Princess

    When An Electric Storm. (Educational Recordings) Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Laura Valle
    Laura Valle

    Charismatic. Review by Stacey Zering.

  • Ramen Shop
    Ramen Shop

    A young man searches for the secrets of his family and great Ramen.

  • Southern Avenue
    Southern Avenue

    Keep On (Concord Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Don Felder
    Don Felder

    Don Felder took music fans down Eagles’ memory lane at Disney Epcot’s® Garden Rocks Concert Series, and Michelle Wilson loved every nostalgic moment of it.

  • Alfred Sergel IV
    Alfred Sergel IV

    Alfred Sergel IVtet (The Tam Tam Group). Review by Stacey Zering.

  • Tanika Charles
    Tanika Charles

    The Gumption (Record Kicks). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

From the Archives