A horrible hack



Year Released: 2008
Format: CD
Label: Jagjaguwar
Reviewed by Tom Sloan on Mar 18, 2008
Ladyhawk’s debut album was one of my favourites of 2006, an LP of robust, world-weary, Neil Young-esque indie-rock with a faith in traditional guitar, bass, drums and voice to match Built to Spill. At their best, the band pull the trick of making down-trodden, pathos-laden songs into cathartic, uplifting anthems – on record they evoke the image of a band playing in some lonely saloon, purging their everyman demons as a few locals prop up the bar, nodding along profoundly, before solemnly taking another swig from the bottle.

The same seductive and oddly refreshing feel permeates through ‘Shots’, albeit with a few new sounds and smattering of keyboards, but unfortunately the songs aren’t quite at the level as before. What’s more, the first record was punctuated by some memorable lines and defining moments - they haven’t completely lost it here, but otherwise really solid songs like ‘S.T.H.D.’ and ‘You Ran’ lack that same hook to them.

That’s a bit unfair, though, because this is a decent enough album. S.T.H.G is a great song, but didn’t perhaps get the chorus it deserved. Also, ‘Faces of Death’ has a poignant grace that entices brooding late-night listening: "I know there’s no such thing as endless love / only a joke told in very bad taste that somehow keeps cracking me up" goes the refrain, as the lead guitar weeps into the ether. It’s enough to remind you that this is a band worth giving a damn about.

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