Hot on the heels of the excellent Wartgore Hellsnicker EP comes this fine new EP from the “legendary” Paul Hawkins. I only use the apostrophes because I don’t really know anything about the man. What’s new ? I like to think that it means I can give an unbiased and fresh opinion. Although if you extend that metaphor then it means I would be happy to fly a plane without any prior experience….but would you really want to be my passenger ? Anyway, what was I talking about ? Oh yeah. PHATAS.Work it out.
The first song is a super catchy little piece of pop / rock with nice background “Ba Ba Ba” work and a lovely bassline. The real highlight of this (and all the other songs) are Mr.Hawkins lyrics. Yes, his Nick Cave-esque, growl-y delivery is good, but ultimately it’s his lyrics which will grab you. For instance the first song is a rebuttal of being good and honest in favour of “witnessing the beginning of Mr.Hyde”. “The Finest Cherry” is a stampy / stompy piece of dramatic Spector-esque pop with Roy Orbison like guitar work that all comes together with more of his great lyrics (“Well I saw the finest cherry, I plucked it from the tree, I dropped it on the pavement and it squashed beneath my feet”) to make a great bittersweet near-ballad. “Of Course I Stole The Train” relates the true tale of a quite major theft of public transport, accompanied with train like drums and bass and an absurdly simple / catchy piano line to create what is probably my favourite track on the EP. There’s something slightly The Smiths-esque about it …maybe that’s why. Next up is the brilliant “Johnny”. Now I wouldn’t have picked up on this because for some reason I never understand lyrics, but it is apparently a song about zombies which makes the funeral pace and deeply sinister delivery a bit more explicable, it has a great vocal hook, great guitar hook and a super fun singalong chorus bit near the end (“I’m on your first step Johnny”). To finish things up comes “Gomorrah” which is a quite moving analysis of the death of a relationship. If you’ve ever gone through such a thing then a lot of this song will resonate.
Audio Antihero has a fine ability to throw music up that I wouldn’t normally listen to and make me listen to it. And almost inevitably when I get one of their releases to review it ends up making more and more of an impression on me. This album will never surpass some of my favourite albums of all time, but such is the nature of its construction that neither will it be relegated to a charity shop in a few years time.