Much has been made of the ‘intelligent pop’ of Hamish Hawk, but the Scottish musician is proving that well-thought out music needn’t be dull.
Massively popular with BBC’s 6music, Hawk was first discovered by Fife underground folk legend King Creosote and mentored by Idlewild’s Rod Jones, and the Edinburgh musician revels in his own background on Scotland’s east coast.
However, his influences range far and wide, his croon evoking the likes of Scott Walker and the Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon.
It’s been mentioned before that Hawk looks a little like actor David Hyde Pierce – best known for portraying psychiatrist Niles Crane on Frasier – and if the two met in some parallel universe they might well share an interest in fine wine, wordplay and intellectual pursuits.
There’s also some of the swagger of Jarvis Cocker across these ten tracks and Hawk in fact references Pulp in the extravagantly-titled ‘Mauritian Badminton Doubles Champion 1973′: “‘Common People’ played by Christopher Wren’.”
Hawk’s lyrics can be a bit mysterious, but always fun, as on ‘Caterpillar’ he sings of “A town called Misery” where “No-one seems to live here… ‘cept me… obviously.”
That track is also notable for its driving alt.rock feel, perfectly emphasising another aspect of Hawk’s music – its extreme variety. There’s no getting away from his rich baritone which lends a chamber pop feel to some of the tracks, but others like ‘Bakerloo Unbecoming‘ seem impossible to categorise.
Similarly, the shards of guitar and stabs of Hammond organ make the second single, ‘Calls to Tiree’ help set this album aside from anything else that’s current.
Whatever, the smart money is on us hearing much more from Hamish Hawk in the near future.
‘Heavy Elevator’ is out now. This article originally appeared in the Lancashire Post.