by John Collison
I See Hawks in LA’s newest release Mystery Drug is an outstanding collection of songs continuing the veteran Los Angeles group’s brand of traditional country music. Thirteen tunes explore urban, rural and personal themes that capture Southern California’scontradicting cultures and landscapes. Mystery Drug takes effect within the first three notes of the album’s opening track Oklahoma’s Going Dry; Rob Waller’s warm, comforting voice and Rick Shea’s pedal steel guitar ease the mind and comfort the soul. I See Hawks’ seventh release marks a return to electric music after 2012’s acoustic New Kind of Lonely. Waller’s and Paul Lacques’ blend of acoustic and electric guitars and harmonies are seamless, creating rich sonic textures adorned with pedal steel and accordion. If You Remind Me, Mystery Drug and Yesterday’s Coffee are introspective reaches into the psyche of love, acceptance and existence. Beauty of the Better States, Rock and Roll Cymbal From the Seventies and My Local Merchants are dedicated rockers. The latter song hints that I See Hawks and Mystery Drug could be a co-op with no less than nine musicians, including Lacques’ brother Anthony and wife Victoria Jacobs, complementing the band’s core membership of Waller, Lacques and veteran bassist Paul Marshall (Strawberry Alarm Clock). Mystery Drug elicits a chortle withStop Driving Like an Asshole, a ditty that takes karmic joy in the accident of a speeding SUV- “And the angels did sing: sha la la la, he drove like an asshole.” This song is the frosting on this album’s cake. Mystery Drug is no mystery; it is the soulfulness of a veteran band performing their finest music.
I See Hawks in LA recently returned from an 8-week tour of Europe and a string of shows along the west coast. They will perform at McCabe’s Guitar shop on Sunday, August 18 as part of a release party for Mystery Drug. If you are fan of roots, traditional country, or Flying Burrito Brothers/Graham Parsons, you should not miss this show.
Mystery Drug is available on itunes and directly from the I See Hawks in LA website. McCabe’s Guitar Shop is located at 3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405