I'm going to tell you a story of how i came across three of the best albums i've ever listened to. One, sunny August day in 2003, i was stuck in line at Chapters, with only a row of chocolates. Fed up, i went into the music section. On the display case outside of the store, i saw three albums that caught my eye - the first one was Matthew Good's Avalanche, next was Weezer's Blue Album, and finally, Hawksley Workman's Lover/Fighter. As i picked up my chocolate and cds and headed out the door into my car, i took a glance at the L/F cd, put it into my cd player, and looking through the book. As where our listening tale begins:
The first half of the album starts out with a bold statement of F*** you. With the piano laced rhtyhms and calming chorus's, We Will Still Need A Song and Even An Ugly Man are Alternative/Indie with a hint of Beatlesque beauty. Hard to believe this is ONE GUY. U2 inspired guitars ring through the glorious bridges, with a keepin on' drumbeat echoing throught the pre-chrous. As well as terribly beautifully broken guitar with an electric-trying-to-be-acousitc guitar. Even An Ugly Man has a simplistic chorus, which allows Hawksley to show off his pipes. Wonderful and Sad is a piano inspired love/hate song that isn't really the best song - but it passes for a good one. The chorus comes alive to aid the song, complete with visible guitars. Hawksley sounds hurt throughout the first half, but it really comes out in this song especially. Then comes the first single of the album, the poetic Anger As Beauty. A trebely guitar, drums, and Hawksley are the only occupiers of the first part, which are followed by a whole orchestra of Alternative music. U2 is his huge inspiration in this song i find especially in the echoing lead guitar in the verses. Overwhelming in music simplicity, simplicity is also the strongest point of the song. The only problem is the bridge. it's extremely boring. just fast forward. don't skip. No Reason To Cry Out Your Eyes contains music that seems really sappy, and that's just what the song is. It's beautifully simplistic and calming. puts me right to sleep in a good way. Warning: this song WILL get in your head.
And at that, the first part of the album, i needed a breather. I stopped at nearby Harvey's. Walking in, i still had the overwhelming U2 inspired first half of L/F in my head.
"Can I take your order?"
my mind raced. i thought as quickly as i could.
i came out with a hamburger with onions and mustard on it. burnt my mouth pretty good. Now, back to the review:
Part two is even better that part one. Starting off with the epically romantic Tonight Romanticize The Automobile introduces us to anything-but-booming bass, leaving Hawksley to take on the role of the lead instrument. Make the lyrics mean what you want them to do. Even though it's pretty obvious in the chorus. The Future Language Of Slaves is the lone acoustic track. And it's most welcome. The Radiohead-esque strumming style is accompanied with a ringing piano thats pretty basic. A freedom song, you're sure that he is a passionate guy for peace. Smoke Baby is the least desirable song on the cd, but it's different - in a good way - nontheless. A hip hop influence electronic drumbeat dances with the acoustic guitar. Featuring a guest rap, it's a pretty interesting and foreign sounding track. Autumn's here is the ending (?) to this album, with a piano movin around Hawksley's voice singing about ... who cares? It's an excellent, if not breathtaking song. I found it really hard to keep in those happy tears. (insert WIMP joke here). Followed with the dummm dum dum dum rhythm section and strumming of a .. banjo, it maintains it's good feeling to it. Here is where i expected the album to be done.
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!
The first unlisted track is 30 seconds of silence... easily ignorable. Followed by a piano laced ballad about running away together on a motorcycle. It's about love. It's about escape. It's a great song. 'Nuff said. Addicted is actually a decent song, but it's not really the style that fits the cd. It's about, yeah, people getting addicted to ______. I'm going to through in the b-side of Love Will Tear Us Apart because it's so amazing. It's the Joy Division song, except slowed down and introduced to modern day slow rock. With the piano doing the whole bass/synth riff, and the solo with the broken guitar, it's a 5:13 minute epic worthy of being on this cd (even if it's actually not).
I definetley overdosed in great alternative that day. It totally changed the way i look at music. This album has some unbelievable highs, but it is kind of short and often repetetive. Although, the better songs are the ones that have a more crunched guitars, some of them have a very limited attention span. Therefore, I deem Lover/Fighter: