Based out of Cardiff, mercurial Welsh indie rocker Huw Gwynfryn Evans, better known by the nom de plume H. Hawkline, which he appropriated from author Richard Brautigan's 1974 gothic Western The Hawkline Monster, crafts melodic, slightly surrealist pop confections that fall somewhere between post-punk and psych-pop. Evans' first collection of self-described "strange pop" arrived in 2010 with the independently released A Cup of Salt. The Strange Uses of Ox Gall arrived the following year, and in 2012 he issued an EP, Black Domino Box. He inked a deal with Heavenly Records the following year, and in 2014 issued a compilation called Salt Gall Box Ghouls. That same year saw Evans traveling to Los Angeles to record his official debut for the label. The resulting In the Pink of Condition, which was produced by fellow Welsh pop auteur Cate Le Bon, arrived in early 2015. Previously, he had played guitar in her band, live and on record. He also played guitar for Sweet Baboo, and contributed bass on two Kevin Morby albums, Harlem River and Still Life. The fourth H. Hawkline album, I Romanticize, was released in June of 2017. It was recorded in Los Angeles and Wales, and featured a band made up of Evans, Le Bon, Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa, and keyboardist Josiah Steinbrick.
© James Christopher Monger /TiVo
© James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 2, 2015 | Heavenly Recordings
Welsh singer/songwriter H. Hawkline spent a few years working below the radar before the release of 2015's In the Pink of Condition on Heavenly, refining his neo-psych rambling and tricky Welsh songwriting into a sleek and punchy mix of hooky guitar pop, woozy acid folk, and jangling indie pop. Helped by the guiding hand of fellow traveler Cate Le Bon behind the mixing board, Hawkline delivers on the promise of earlier efforts and the album nearly equals the work of his producer. Utilizing a gnarly guitar tone that threatens to reach out of the speakers and strangle the listener, Hawkline's sleepy, woodsy vocals, and the kind of intimate songs that sound like they're being played for one person at a time, the album has a timeless sound that's both deeply mysterious and instantly immediate. Le Bon's production work is spot-on, keeping things simple but never simplistic, and the occasional backing vocals she chips in help provide the album with some spooky warmth. The overall result is very similar to the work of their countrymen Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, especially their wonderful How I Long to Feel That Summer in My Heart record. Songs like "Rainy Summer" and "Moons in My Mirrors" would have fit in there perfectly, with their gentle psychedelic swirls that feed the listener plenty of color but never get in the way of the feels the melodies and vocals transmit. A couple songs break out of the moody restraints and kick up some dust; with energy and fire, "Ringfinger" and "Moddion" are welcome visitors that help round the album out. In the Pink of Condition is the work of an artist fully in control of his sound and vision, and Hawkline delivers exactly the album anyone who's been following him wanted. It's also a nice surprise for anyone discovering him here for the first time, as he firmly adds himself to the shortlist of people (Le Bon included) who are making the best folk-pop-psych around in the 2010s. © Tim Sendra /TiVo