AAL and EHA. We don’t know much more about LOW FLYING HAWKS, so much that we fall back on the buzz-worthy participation of Trevor Dunn (Mr Bungle) and Dale Crover (Melvins) as an introduction to the band — the two side guys acting as a platinum certified rhythm section to drum up business. But don’t be fooled. Even if they keep staying in the background, multi-instrumentalists AAL and EHA are certainly not lacking talent nor creativity for working with such high-class duo.
We were really looking forward to “Fuyu” (Japanese for “winter”), the epilogue of that long-conceived trilogy based on the myth of Sisyphus. The king of Corinth was cruelly condemned by the gods of Olympus to push a boulder up a hill forever, only to see it slide down the slope every time he got closer to the top.
Those who’ve been following the band since « Kofuku » know that these Hawks offer a very meandering brand of doom. When pushing the genre into unknown territories, they do it with finesse. They smartly draw from what such an antagonistic collaboration can offer: one takes care of the details and sense of the melody, the other handles the savagery and roughness. “Fuyu” represents a form of completion of this stylistic exercise — just like a satin veil covering morass.
Although the album opener “Subatomic Sphere” turns out to be a rad single filled with otherworldly grooves and growls, it is not representative of the next 60 minutes. “Fuyu” is a chimera that constantly changes shape according to the emotions conveyed. To keep things interesting on a record this long, the Hawks had to inject interludes to counterbalance their doom-heavy and filthy sludge. Yet sometimes, the long, slow and sometimes tortuous constructions can lose some listeners.
Starting as cello-infused post-rock, “Monster” goes all funereal sludge with whistling growls. Same on “Caustic Wing”, when Dale Crover takes you out of the quagmire with an exhilarating space rock blast. Hectic and scrambled guitars on “Fuyu” compensate for the dream-shattering, spleen-inducing violins of “Midnight”. Low Flying Hawks draw from a wide array of genres to express their emotions: doom despair, post-rock reveries, hope in the form of luminous pop, shoegaze haze, nightmares, psychedelic delirium… Varied and antinomic, as I said. Sisyphus finds happiness in the accomplishment of his task, not in the vain hope of reaching his goal. This is the meaning of life: ups and downs, happy highlights, as well as more contrasted, at times dark or unfair moments. Just like this album. The key is to learn from all this.
It takes patience and a certain open-mindedness to fully embrace Low Flying Hawks’ music. The album is rich, dense and several listenings are necessary to appreciate its intricacy. Just like Sisyphus who tirelessly goes up the slope, you will come back to “Fuyu” to grasp its finest details.
Last modified: 7 September 2021