Tuesday 29 January 2013

Julie Hawk - Julie Hawk EP

EP review by kev@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk

Having spent a fair bit of time in the "rain-choked west of Ireland" myself I know just how ingrained music is to the culture there. So learning that Julie Hawk began playing piano aged five, followed by fiddle and guitar, not to mention honing those vocal chords, comes as no surprise at all. This self-titled EP doesn't draw heavily on traditional Irish music, it's more a blend of folk and traditional pop from around the British Isles that she's used to craft her own songs. Single 'The Value Of Gold', as a folk-pop song, is almost impossible to fault, although if this kind of thing isn't your cup of tea then you're unlikely to be converted. Hawk has a delicate voice that emanates from some very strong vocal chords. The result is, somewhat paradoxically, very powerful and very gentle at the same time. It's the vocal that takes charge too; the temptation is always there with this variety of music to hide it a little deeper in the mix. It's good that this approach wasn't taken.

Other near-faultless performances come in 'Maps' and the magical 'The West', and it's difficult to see what you could do to the songs to make them sound better without completely overhauling the genre for something else. 'Age In Years' is a highlight, pumping the sound up a notch, almost to folk-rock territory. The final track is a cover of 'This Charming Man' by The Smiths. We were kind of hoping for something akin to The Sundays here, but what we get is really no different from all the other acoustic renditions of songs doing the rounds in TV commercial land (see also 'Sweet Child Of Mine', 'Never Tear Us Apart, 'Please, Please, Please Let me Get What I Want' and so on) which renders it a bit underwhelming and unnecessary. Her own songs though, will be a delight for fans of sweetly sung acoustics.

Julie Hawk's website

Pre-order the EP

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