First a ballad man, then a punkish-looking alternative boy with aviators, and now... a guy who sounds like he's sitting in an english garden with a toy piano and little flower people dancing around the little table that Hawksley is sitting at and drinking tea. Strange as it may sound, that's pretty much the only description of his new album Treeful of Starling. For this album, Hawksley put down his electric guitar and tight clothes and picked up an acoustic guitar and piano, which are really the only musical occupants of this cd.
This cd has nine songs. Nine. (Read: Not enjoyable), and some of them are just extremely hard to listen to, especially the ones where he's using a very unpowerful voice and little kiddy piano chords, which equals an almost childlike point. One such songs is Hey Hey Hey (My Little Beauties)
. Though the song reaches only about 3:10, it seems so much longer, and you can just picture the little childeren doing Ring-around-the-Rosie to this annoying disaster. Kiddy as it may be, Hawksley unfortunately sounds like a severe, er, romantically unstable guy with a few, um, women. But the chorus helps save this piece, with a good vocal performance, and, again (but barely noticable) piano. This really drags down the album.You and the Candles
is something that belongs in an 1800's british ballroom. Unfortunate. That is, until, the drums come in, and Hawksley does a decent vocal job. Strings are added, and can even give you a tug at your hearstrings. Unfortunately, the song returns back to it's original premise: boring piano and ballroom-esque vocals. A decent song, but nothing to get excited about. Really, there's not that much bad about the album, but it gets supremely stale after a while, with the constant piano.
There are a few very good parts of the album. All the rest of the songs are quite enjoyable, often sporting acoustic guitars and rather enjoyable (gasp!) piano, and some very good vocal performances from Hawksley. The best of them would have to be It's A Long Life To Always Be Longing
, which has a sole acoustic guitar and a rather dark atmosphere. Trudging drums and accompanying piano. The best part of the album is that it's a very beautifully orhcestrated piece that takes break from the rest of the album, which is rather upbeat. The vocals make an appearance, and they're even sadder than the music. Something to pay attention to, since it's over too soon and it's back to upbeat songs with little or no emotion. A Moth is Not a Butterfly
is the first song on the cd, which represents the cd very good, and gives you an impressive first impression. Another fairly emotional piece, featuring only a piano and some drums, which echoes through pretty much every song. Good vocal performances and metaphors make this song attention-worthy. The next best part of the album is the finale Ice Age
is another emotional piece. With sad chords and acceptable lyrics about... learning about the ice age, but you get a rather different premise from it, as you think that the character he's talking about is getting swallowed by it. A very good instrument performance, an array of horns and drums and defintely the most impressive overall performance on the album, which helps rejuvenate the poor parts of the album
The best part of the album has to be the dark spots. Though only three out of nine, the dark parts are the most intellectually stimulating and enjoyable. The worst part about the album is obvious: some songs are just horrible, boring and repetetive. Something that Hawksley really hasn't done before. Sure, it's a little step back for his career, seeing as a large portion of his Lover/Fighter
audience really wouldn't like this, but otherwise a very good effort.
Thanks for reading,