I See Hawks In L.A. – Hallowed Ground

January 01, 1970

(Big Book Records)

 

www.bigbookrecords.com

 

 

It’s sort of surprising that I See Hawks In L.A., the
Southern California country-rock band, not only has lasted to its fourth album but
has won a devoted following as the region’s best such act. There is, after all,
one heck of a lot of competition. And lead singer Rob Waller has a
monochromatic voice that is borderline monotonous. Plus the band’s sound is
such a throwback to its predecessors, the Burritos and New Riders, that it’s
hard to get excited, despite the excellent playing, colored by pedal-steel and
fiddle.

 

But this band’s secret is idiosyncratically unusual
songwriting. Waller and guitarist Paul Lacques write like hip university
professors, or post-countercultural novelists, and their lyrics are fascinating
and full of provocative ideas, a rarity in rock.

 

“Yolo
Country Airport”
is a cool, dramatic song about flying home as potential superstars. “Carbon
Dated Love,” an existentialist, epiphanous tale about two hikers becoming one
with nature, is a marvel of imagist detail. “Environment Children of the
Future,” a ballad, balances sincerity about ecological awareness among young
people with a killer “yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah” chorus. The apocalyptic rocker
“Ever Since the Grid Went Down” imagines being forced to live “like an honest
man” – it’s meant ironically – in order to survive a societal collapse. A
detour into Celtic music is ill-advised and the production by Lacques could be
more forceful. But this is one fascinating band.

 

Standout Tracks: “Carbon Dated Love,” “Ever Since the Grid Went Down” STEVEN ROSEN

 

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