One of Southern California’s leading alt country bands, I See Hawks in LA return with their tenth album to date, On Our Way, which is also the band’s first post-pandemic album. Detailing a band’s lockdown practices and procedures is becoming almost obligatory in light of recent events, yet each circumstance is slightly different. In the case of this band, Rob Waller and Paul Lacques would keep to a strict weekly songwriting schedule, adopting to Facetime one another at 4pm prompt every Friday afternoon, which seems to have done the trick. With further assistance from band mates Victoria Jacobs and Paul Marshall, On Our Way has been developed under extraordinary circumstances, yet the results are probably better than expected. Rather than focusing on the current crisis, the band turned to history for inspiration, honing in on such figures as Geronimo and Muhammad Ali, not to mention the odd Kentucky Jesus, who ‘knocked the Devil to the floor’ at one point. Stylistically the band keep pretty much to their alt country, Americana and folk rock roots, with some occasional driving rhythms, gutsy blues and renegade lyricism to keep their fans happy. The album also contains a song with a setting a few thousand miles from home, with “Kensington Market” adopting a pop sensibility that wouldn’t be too far out of place on some vintage ‘Swinging Sixties’ radio show. I See Hawks in LA can be diverse when the mood takes them evidently. On the subject of the old wireless, “Radio Keeps Me on the Ground (Slight Return)”, is a fine homage to those who have managed to keep us entertained during an unprecedented lockdown period. Radio shows and online podcasts have certainly kept a good few of us on the ground over the last eighteen months. The sprawling eight minutes of “How You Gonna Know” completes the album, where the band engage in some funky Doors-like experimental rhythms to keep us on our toes.
Kensington Market is included in this week’s Vaults radio show.