Enchanting, haunting, and dynamic the voice of Irish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Julie Hawk is quite sensational, a deliciously unique and compelling persuasion. Perpetually expressive and bewitching Hawk has a vocal style which lights up the air with imagination and inventive enterprise to leave one magnetised and often sighing with enjoyment. Hawk is also an accomplished musician which as shown by her self-titled EP, makes for a combination as fresh as any summer sunrise and as golden as the most potent seductive sunset.
Consisting of six songs, the release is a sensational breath of smouldering elegance and riveting songwriting from an artist who is sparking ardour driven acclaim across the London unsigned scene. At five years old the West of Ireland singer took up the piano moving onto the fiddle and later the guitar whilst developing her own special style by singing in as many styles as she could mimic. She is also an artist who is obviously unafraid to investigate, draw upon, and use the ripest essences of a vast array of influences sought and come across, such as 21st century choral composer Eric Whitacre who is known for his ‘mystifying chords’. This diversity gained and evolved soaks her innovative sounds vocally and musically at every turn and is openly apparent on her new release.
Since emerging after ‘one cloistered winter’ in 2011 where she honed her distinct ability and style, Hawk has captured the imagination of a growing passionate fan base, her tremendous innovative sound like a pied piper for a great and growing many. Recent months has seen her supporting singer-songwriter, Benjamin Francis Leftwich and Michele Stodart of The Magic Numbers as well as making her festival debut at Hop Farm. It will one suspects, be her EP which will send her into the hearts of the widest acclaim and recognition and with its thrilling contents a result wholly deserved.
The release opens with the sultry folk pop caress of The Value Of Gold the lead track from the EP. Accompanied on the song and across the release by Matthew Harris (bass, guitar, piano, and percussion), the track is an immediate kiss upon the ear from within an elevated heart borne energy. The guitar teases of Hawk gentle coax the emotions as they tenderly wrap around the ear whilst the more shadowed bass and emotive breath completes a fully rounded companionship for the senses. Lyrically as throughout the EP, Hawk finds seeds in contrasts/contradictions like life/decay and light/ dark bringing them impressively to bear on the listener but it is her irresistible vocals which ensure they leave the deepest touch.
It is a richly engaging start equalled by the magnificent Maps, a song which dances on the ear with grace and warmth whilst offering a riveting emotive puissance. There is a slight familiarity to the song, though for no apparent reason, which adds to the enthrallment whilst again the soaring voice of Hawk leaves one basking in glorious originality and aural temptation. Comparisons to artists such as Kate Bush and Joanna Newsom are often laid upon the singer and both are valid as are many others which spring to mind whilst the treats keep coming on the EP, yet they are all whispers in the uniqueness which is all Hawk.
Age In Years dances with the heart next to open up further avenues of infatuation for its infectious swagger and pop grooved heart. It is a wonderful piece of writing and realisation which becomes the deepest love affair between passion and release. The lush amour for the ear enhanced by its teasing guitar lures is continued as the release moves into the slower enveloping fascinations of The West and Cinders. Both are delightful instigators of heated tingles through their showers of aural raindrops and tantalising gaits, the first an entrancing weave of melodic mastery, wistful harmonies, and vocal wonder and the second a slowly winding emotive inducement for thought and heart.
Closing with an engaging cover of This Charming Man, the EP is a stunning pleasure which it is almost impossible to tear away from. The Smiths song is a well done extra sweet to devour though it does not quite live up to the triumphs elsewhere on the release. Julie Hawk maybe the big breeze inside London right now but with this EP one confidently predicts the country will soon also be under her spell.
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