`Angel Numbers` is a series of recurring numerical patterns or sequences which those who believe in such things invest with cosmic significance. It also happens to be the name of the latest album by Edinburgh-based and a graduate of the University of St Andrews Hamish Hawk. Singer–songwriter Hawk had been making music since 2014, when he self-released `Aznavour` as Hamish James Hawk. The dozen songs on `Angel Numbers` were written by Hawk in lockdown with Andrew Pearson (guitars), Stefan Maurice (keyboards and drums) and Alex Duthie (bass), who form the core of his band alongside John Cashman (keyboards).
The album opens with `’Once Upon An Acid Glance` and it`s a delightfully all-encompassing.
dreamy introduction with a guiding drumbeat and swathing synth tones and the singer`s quite captivating vocals with their Edinburgh inflection sprinkled atop and throughout. We have a much more fast paced number with `Think of Us Kissing` with a kind of constant electronic platform that pushes this number on. There are some enchanting subtle key tinges and the track slows down for a reflective segment towards the end before retaining it`s previous pace.
`Elvis Look-alike Shadows` to me had an almost Steven Patrick Morrissey in his prime swagger about it and relates a tale of a manifestation from Presley in his ’68 Comeback Special splendour.
It would appear that `Bridget St. John` is named in honour of the singer-songwriter and guitarist whose appearance and mannerisms are compared to somebody who occupies that narrator`s mediative moments. The rest of the time seems to be spent travelling from a rooftop in Berlin, to a bookshop in Lansing, Michigan, to London then Dresden, Austin and back to London. It`s a fairly captivating listen with orchestrated strings and what sounds like a female harmony towards the end which give it an almost Prefab Sprout ambience.
`Frontman` features London singer-songwriter Anna B Savage and is sung over a fairly prominent churning harmonium which gave the number an almost spiritual texture. The pace quickens once again on `Desperately` which veers from almost belligerence to despair in the vocal conveyance on this contemplative musing which lyrically I admit, had me baffled.
Bill Callahan appears as a wise mentor in a dream sequence which is the inspiration for `Bill` where the Smog singer-songwriter offers shrewd advice on the artist`s lyrical struggles with “Don’t fixate on things you have done that you think are good. Just keep going.” The song is more Morrissey than Morrissey himself. Title track `Angel Numbers` has a fairly overwhelming bluster and sways along with a delicious appeal which is enhanced with a frequent high pitched hand held synth sounding screech, which I found utterly compelling.
The singer has shared that the lyrics on ‘Money’, are “some of the favourite lyrics I’ve ever written” and in fairness, the song is a well authored pop tinged treasure. The wonderfully titled `Dog-eared August` races along with drums and guitar almost competing with the singer to be heard and finish first on this tale that seems to equate to a romantic encounter.
`Rest & Veneers` is a Country / Americana hued number with beautifully shared pedal steel with American singer-songwriter Samantha Crain trading vocals with the singer on this mesmerisingly dreamy outing which highlights the dexterity of styles the artist is capable of. I found that the final track `Grey Seals` fairly thought-provoking and brought to mind a lot of different feelings and ideas.
A rather intriguing listen to close out on.
`Angel Numbers` is a really astonishing listen with some really stimulating lyrical content. There were so many good tunes shared and it gave me forty minutes of sheer satisfaction and contentment.
I would imagine that on the strength of this release and the singer`s back catalogue that he is on the cusp of something really consequential. Let`s hope so.
Rating 9 / 10