Review Summary: Workman's sixth release may let down the lovers and fighters, but is still a delightful addition to his catalog.
<i>“This song is like reaching into future me, it’s like the next thing. I think it’s fitting that it’s like, one of the last songs on the record. I think it’s indicative of what’s to come."</i>-HW's comments on "Smoke Baby", 2004
Love it or hate it, Lover/Fighter put Hawksley Workman in the limelight. Needless to say, Treeful of Starling disappointed a number of fans. The laid-back, and natural album left the lovers and fighters asking, "Where is our 'Smoke Baby' album""
Between the Beautifuls is not it. Instead it's an album for the long-time fans who have no problem belting "For Him and the Girls" until their voices are cracked and broken.
Opening up with a classic romantic piece dealing with nature and poetry, then jumping right into "Alone Here", an upbeat number dealing with things that are not alone, makes for a terrific start.
Two more ballads, and the very Coldplay-esque "No Stillness and No Rain", sets the listener up beautifully for "Piano Blink". A very radio-friendly and soulful song about early 'I love you's' and 'forevers'.
Beautifuls' pinnacle is Pomegranate Daffodil, a broadway style song that reminds devoted Hawksley fans of his earlier, theatre-inspired songs. I challenge listeners to not sing along to this track.
The album winds itself down to "What Would You Say To Me, Lord"", but not before one more upbeat number about the tragedy of city life.
Hawksley pays tribute to the fans belting his songs, by stepping back for the end of the final song, and letting all the shower and highway singers take the microphone and conclude his album.
A friend recently told me, "The more we expect his next album to be 'Smoke Baby', the easier we're going to be let down."
All too true. While Between the Beautifuls is not 'Smoke Baby', it reminds us of where Workman has been, and where he's going. With a few too many ballads, and a couple more broadway numbers to add to his collection, I think this album is a lovely representation of the kind of artist Hawksley is.
Always changing, never certain, very human.