A more than accomplished adventurer through the realms of alternative rock, pop and progressive rock and renowned for his work on the Tricky album, Blowback, Garrison Hawk (a.k.a. Hawkman) recently released his new solo album. The Adrenaline is described as the Jamaican born, New York residing musician/songwriter’s return to his dancehall and reggae roots. Now we are no experts on either genre or their histories but we can firmly and eagerly declare the album one prize source of rousing pleasure.
Relocating as a teenager with his family to the Bronx, Hawk was touring the U.S. East Coast with key reggae stars by the time he was 17. In time he was sharing stages with the likes of Shabba Ranks and Super Cat and masses numerous successes on the journey which brings us to this moment in time and The Adrenaline.
Though easy to reference the likes of Shaggy, Beenie Man, and Shabba Ranks as reasons to be tempted by the album, The Adrenaline roars an individuality, imagination, and creative energy boldly borne to Hawk and it all began to get under the skin with album opener Party Time. It is fair to say that certain moments did not grab us and inflame personal tastes as much as other times, songs which had a more pop nurtured personality not quite sparking with us but there was never a moment within the release when it did not entice or manipulate body, vocal chords, and the imagination.
Party Time was one such exploit, a song with pop flirtation and melodic croon which certainly had us gently bouncing but did not ignite the kind of lust we bred further in for The Adrenaline. It is hard not to be caught up in and sparked by Hawk’s vocal prowess alone though, his dextrous tones quickly compelling and definitely in full fertility within the following Wine Pan a Ting.
The second track triggered our addiction to the record, its animated body and eventful shuffle pure temptation. Every twist and turn cast by the song brought fresh vigour in movement just as Hawk’s esuriently dancing tones sparked matching relish in vocal participation while the hungrily fertile and flirtatious sounds took care of the imagination.
Good Girls Love Bad Guys took over an already breathless body, it’s gentler but no less eagerly swung saunter virile temptation. The minimalistic landscape of the song equally works a treat, every pulse, beat and electronic coaxing adding to its rich declaration while Dream for Life with its own slimly woven but thickly full persuasion had hips swaying and ears attentive. Though it is another which maybe did not ignite the passions as much as those around it, there was no ignoring or not feeding on its enterprise, to which the same can be said for the synth pop/dancehall merging Love in a Mi Heart (Can’t Tear We Apart).
The outstanding Humanity (Solidarity) fingered the passions in seconds. Its heady rhythmic taunting and sonic devilment quickly gripped and provided the perfect company for Hawk’s ever compelling vocal agility and instinctive cunning as it snapped at politic agendas while the drama soaked Dem Want to Avenger Me with matching musical, vocal, and lyrical adroitness snarled and allured with matching invention.
Marrying a summery theatre of sound and examining lyrical insight, Draw Mi Out is another major highlight to the album’s lofty landscape, the song punchy yet melodically poetic. That kind of fusion of contrasts lies at the heart of many songs within the album, next up Fear of Threat fusing lyrical challenge and penetration with electro pop warmth though that brings its own shadows into play.
Turn on Twist romance orchestral proved a grower, initially not tapping into instinctive wants but by its end seeing us popping moves and calmly hollering to its creative inclinations and once orchestral prowess aroused the senses, submission was complete.
Favourite track honours were forcibly gripped by the glorious Pretty Pussycat, a mischievous slice of creative devilment which was in manipulative control from its first breath. The song is salacious flirtation, from voice to sound and an utter addiction sure to have dance-floors bouncing and hollering its key thought given the chance.
Beenie Man guests on the incorrigibly catchy Gal Have Wants, a song marrying Jamaican reggae/dancehall with rhythmic Afro-ethnicity and simply irresistible, so much so that there is no doubt you will be raising keen voices to match your swinging hips one it infests ears.
Once completed by Draw Mi Out (Bad Man Want to Reason) – Jamaica Cut, enslavement to the album was sealed, well before its final temptation to be honest. We still do not know too much about the dancehall and reggae roots which inspired Garrison Hawk on this encounter but we do know that The Adrenaline is a must.
The Adrenaline is out now through Marathon Records.
Pete RingMaster 04/03/2021
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