Hawkboy EP

Written by: DR on 27/06/2011 18:01:30

Ever since their first album "Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest", As Cities Burn never seemed like a band with an assured future. Initially main-vocalist TJ left which caused the band as a whole to disband, only to re-unite at the request of their fans, this time with Cody solely on vocals, and subsequently releasing arguably their finest of three albums, "Come Now Sleep". Two years on, fans barely had time to take in third album, "Hell or High Water" (which was almost entirely recorded by Cody and his friend Tyler Orr), before rumours started to emerge about it being the final release for the band. Without a fuss, they confirmed these rumours:

"As Cities Burn has broken up. We are happily moving on after 6 good years. Our lives and our wives have called us in different directions. Thanks to anyone who has come out to a show, had words to say, or bought a CD to help us fill the tank."

It's unlikely that this surprised fans, instead we just waited it out for news of potential side-projects. Guitarist Chris Lott went on to play for Twin Killers, but aside from a very brief HelloHighWater project which consisted of Cody posting ACB demos on a MySpace page and him doing a short solo tour, news regarding him and the rest of the band was sparse. It wasn't long before there were more rumours, this time about a new project involving Cody and Aaron titled Hawkboy. However, it wasn't until the duo announced they'd be touring in support of Emery that Hawkboy was confirmed. Swiftly after getting back from that tour, and again without much of a fuss or unnecessary promotional gimmicks, they posted their first EP, "Hawkboy", as a free download.

The first three of four tracks are in some ways a marriage of all three styles of As Cities Burn's albums, and as a result confirm Hawkboy's sound as a fairly original one: the musicianship is genuinely creative, blending genres such as their later indie-sound, with the quiet/loud dynamic of "Come Now Sleep" and traces of the mewithoutYou-esque post-hardcore of early that set Hawkboy apart.

Opener "Two Bit" picks up as though the next natural step after "Hell or High Water", with electronics bubbling underneath noisy indie guitar-work, backed by choir-esque vocals. "Your lover got caught in the rapture" - an epic opening, but what would you expect for a song that's a tongue-in-cheek take on the rapture? There are even traces of Cody's emotive-screams in there! "Scoundrel" and "Mother London" further demonstrate Hawkboy's ability to pen groove-laden musicianship, but also infectious vocals.

While "Hawkboy" shows two talented musicians' inclination to experiment with, and progress from, their former work, the best track here is "Damnkneesya", which could have easily slipped into either of the last two As Cities Burn albums. The minimalistic instrumentation creates a sonically open atmosphere, allowing Cody Bonnette, as one of the most emotive vocalists I have personally ever heard, to flaunt his soft, haunting voice, where it thrives amongst the spacious soundscape.

Technically, "Hawkboy" is a debut, but it shouldn't be treated as one. This is not two new musicians trying to make an impression in music, this is two established and absurdly talented friends doing what they love. Given how As Cities Burn managed to progress their sound, and still put out three great, yet different records, is it really to anyone's surprise that Hawkboy is great, too?


Download: Free download
For The Fans of: mewithoutYou, As Cities Burn, Oceana, Pedro The Lion
Listen: Facebook

Release Date 06.07.2011

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