Friday, February 8, 2008

Reviews:: Ladyhawk Shots

It's almost impossible to talk about Ladyhawk and not mention booze, guitars, and booze again. It's a natural jump off point and kind of sums up the state of mind you get from the band, but the new record - Shots - shows some huge shifts in Ladyhawk's style and proves these guys are much more than booze fueled rockers.

From the opening moments of I Don't Always Know What You're Saying until the end of the record, you are hit in the mouth with a bigger, bolder sound. Even with the stellar Crazy Horse guitar work on the self-titled debut and the feedback of the broken folk efforts on Fight for Anarchy EP, the power on Shots is impressive. The amount of noise they bring this time is staggering and the songs don't so much occupy your ear drums as assaults them relentlessly. The thing is, despite all the energy and raw power, these songs are not drunken experiments and calling them sloppy would be flat out wrong.

The songs seem extremely focused and the band is much tighter now, and it's what makes this record work. They play off each other well, especially when they start finishing each other lines on the jammed outro of the track opening track. If they didn't have an understanding of where the songs were going, the freak outs that end a lot of the songs would sound muddled and tiresome. Instead, the builds grabs you and when they let go, you do too. I don't think they could have pulled off the bang on harmonies on the slow burning epic Ghost Blues on their debut record, and I don't think people are giving them enough credit for this growth.

S.T.H.D. is another huge, sludgy track full of feedback and screamed vocals. I'm not sure it can be called melodic, but over the course of two minutes of chaos and noodling, the band expose some intricate, smooth guitar work that flows perfectly into the next track; the reflective Fear. Fear starts at someone looking inside, wanting to escape everything they've become a part of. It's almost like heading home at the end of a bender and starting to question why you keep drinking, but just accepting it and pouring yourself a stiff nightcap (the nightcap comes in the form of another crushing, heavy finale).

That recipe holds true for most of the record, but by no means is the album boring or repetitive. You Ran settles into a surprisingly melodic number, without losing the rawness of the rest of the album. Corpse Paint starts with a simple electric and drums, but over the four-minutes it gets bigger, wilder and more frenetic, but instead of losing control they find a heavy controlled groove to end the song. The vocals never blow out the mix, it's just a solid, heavy track.

Vancouver's heavy rock scene is blossoming right now. People freaking out over the heavy 70's riffage of Black Mountain but bands like Ladyhawk and Bison are just as important. With this new focused and crushing record, Ladyhawk is going to explode and I couldn't be happier.
[MP3]:: I Don't Always Know What You're Saying

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Posted at 1:12 PM by ack :: 1 comments

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At 2:15 PM, Blogger guero canadiense did sayeth:

I'm shocked that they didn't explode after a) their self-titled CD or b) their north american tour on which they supported Black Mountain with Blood Meridian and at the end of which all three bands were on stage performing Black Mountain's "Satisfaction".

That was a good show. The several month wait for the Ladyhawk release sucked.


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