Modern rock music often has the broadest - or narrowest - set of definitions. On the one hand, Leeds quartet Hawk Eyes are screamo curmudgeons, part of the city's (in)famous DIY scene which has been threatening to go over ground in its own terms for years. And yet, on the other, they've produced on this, their third album, the sort of take-no-prisoners, maverick noises that well-informed niches of the record-buying public demands; a mass of riffs, twitches and paranoia that froths and threatens to ignite and go off in your face at any given moment.
'Everything Is Fine' follows 2012's 'Ideas' both sequentially and in tone; largely self produced and sometimes bluntly uncomplicated, whilst at other times bordering on math-punk jigsaw, and both of those themes again are explored here - concessions to the unfamiliar not easily relinquished. As well as retaining their music's visceral heft, it also bears the same misanthropy: the Hawk Eyes world isn't one of sunshine and lollipops; a slipping feeling is underlined in the words. Take the establishment-hating opener 'The Trap': "I'm a man with a mind you can't buy any more/ You have taken our secrets/ And fed us war" or the agit prop of 'Terribly Quelled''s "Revolutions are won/ revolutions are lost/ but the victors always become tyrants".
Anger and resentment rocket-fuel much of 'Everything Is Fine', but Hawk Eyes still manage to taper their aggression into a set of songs which sound confrontational but polished. 'Die Trying' and 'More Than A Million' are not just smears of noisy tension, they're melodic and counter punching, a nod to a band who're happy to match your perceptions or stretch them to breaking point. The precision and the nerves of steel come, however, at the end during the seven minutes plus of closer 'TFF'; an epic sequence of tidal wave riffs and building phases, each one more elevated, more four lane highway than the last. As a parting gift to the listener, there will be few more dizzying and prosaic sounds delivered this year.
Drawing comparisons - which most journalism thrives on - against all this is hard, not because it can't be done (Think At The Drive In, Queens Of The Stone Age, even Foo Fighters if they ever grow a new pair), but because these probably weren't the bands that the band were listening to at the time they made the record. What you get instead is the rarest of beasts; songwriters who are in command of their influences and are able to channel their instincts without becoming slaves to them. In short, 'Everything Is Fine' is an early candidate for album of 2015, at least that is in the broadest ocean of a category which we laughingly call rock music. And we're happy to say that we're damned if we know what all that means.
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