I think it’s safe to say that with ‘That’s What This Is’ Hawk Eyes have truly left behind the death grunge sound of their Chickenhawk days. ‘That’s What This Is’ continues in the same vein as last year’s ‘Ideas’ and sounds like an unruly mash-up of Pulled Apart By Horses and Reuben. Big riffs and even bigger choruses are the order of the day and it’s something that the band are becoming incredibly good at.
Hawk Eyes’ focus on melody is also heavily featured on ‘That’s What This Is’. Screamed vocals have been paired back considerably which allow for vocal melodies that sound like Foo Fighters in their prime. Songs like ‘Never Never, Just Not Now’ begin with the aforementioned Grohl-esque croon before unleashing one of the EP’s best riffs. Hawk Eyes have mastered the balance between neck-breaking riffage and stadium-sized choruses with finesse.
The real surprise is that Hawk Eyes have lost none of their bite with the increased focus on melody. This is not a sugary, over-processed sounding release at all. ‘That’s What This Is’ is a raw and dirty sounding release that keeps all the grunt and power in the guitar work as well as the absolutely visceral drumming.
Enough can’t be said about how impressive the drums are in particular as it’s about the closest thing to catching the sound of live drumming you can possibly get. The ring of a cymbal crash is always held too long and you can almost feel the force of the pounding that the kit is going through in your chest. Hawk Eyes understand that the appeal of riff-rock is not to hear it played with accuracy; you want to hear it played with passion and if that includes a few mistakes or a more rough-and-ready production style then I’m all for it.
‘That’s What This Is’ showcases Hawk Eyes on top form and songs like ‘More Than A Million’ are future festival anthems. It’s a shame the whole thing is over in under 15 minutes but if this is a taste of things to come then we cannot wait to see what their next album will hold.
Hawk Eyes’ That’s What This Is is out now and available to buy on CD direct from the band.