There is something special about I See Hawks In LA, and I don’t mean the fact that they’re a rather fine americana band. I wouldn’t be discussing their work here if I didn’t think they were. But the thing is, no matter what record you pick from their seven album discography – or is it eight? – time and again there’s this sense of warmth and conviviality just radiating from it all. Not that they’re a party outfit – on the contrary, their arrangements often require close attention – but even more than many of their colleagues from the folk and americana world, this band always makes you feel like they’ve just popped over to your place for an impromptu jam session. Their latest release On Our Way yet again captures that cosy atmosphere very well.
And that’s quite an accomplishment, because this record was created during the first phase of the corona pandemic, while the band was adhering to all the rules regarding social distancing and self-isolation. What sounds like a band playing live in the studio – almost a pre-requisite within the genre – is in reality a digital collage of parts recorded separately from each other. And that doesn’t just include the band itself, but also a whole platoon of guest musicians. The rather outstanding quality of the songs as such doesn’t hurt either, of course. But whether it’s the relaxed country of the title track, somewhat reminiscent of the late Glen Campbell, and tracks like Kentucky Jesus and If I Move, or slightly more experimental tracks like Mississippi Gas Station Blues and Kensington Market, the quartet has absolutely succeeded in matching the spontaneity of their earlier work, thanks to the miracle of modern technology.