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A review of...
I Romanticize by H. Hawkline
"To my ears it’s pretty accessible pop music, but maybe there’s something wrong with my ears” - a quote from H Hawkline that I can wholeheartedly relate to (as i'm sure you can if you're reading something on this website). Yes this is another collection of tunes which would be well and truly bothering the charts if we lived in a world of musical justice. Well, some of them would be, maybe not "Television" or "Cold Cuts" which include elements of discordant madness and a certain monotonous repetition (respectively) and might just push things just a bit too far for the casual listener. In reality that job of bothering the charts is left to Royal Blood who are clearly 100% awful.
Anyway, this record sees H Hawkline continuing his wonky/wobbly pop byline, ably backed by Cate le Bon, Josiah Steinbrick and Stella Mozgawa of Warpaint. The album was recorded in LA but there's still a very homely feel about this record. Homely and slightly cold, certainly too cold to be batched in with the great classic LA albums of years gone by. Or maybe we just live in a colder world these days. Tracks like "Love Matters" is perhaps a good example of this, utilising sparse guitar work and an icy keyboard hook and moulding it into something that sounds half poppy, half grimy. Hawkline's intricate and meandering guitar lines are the main constant on this record, usually underpinned by some keyboard zaps and buzzes. "Last Days In The Factory" has an air of one of those knock-about, adventurous Beatles tunes from The White Album and "Impossible People" is just sheer magnetic joy, harnessing 80's synth pop and turning it into something thoroughly modern and thoroughly Welsh.
I Romanticize isn't quite as engaging or varied as his previous effort In The Pink Of Condition, but on its own terms this is still a solid entry to the H Hawkline canon. Let's face it, any album that contains sparks of genius like "Impossible People" is going to be worth a punt.