Alternative music reviews

October 30, 2008

We Are Not Other People by Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences

Filed under: paul hawkins,reviews — @ 2:27 pm Comments (1)

We are Not Other PeopleSometimes there’s an assumption that Rock/Pop music can only be made by good looking young people with tuneful voices, when the truth is most are not worthy of cleaning Mark E Smith’s toilet seat. A lot of people will find it astonishing that Paul Hawkins is allowed to make records with a nasal whine that hits few notes. But, the truth is that he is one of the few original voices in music today and what’s more…he even writes about Real Life (or something pretty close to it).

There is an honesty about Paul Hawkins’ songwriting that marks him out as different. While earnest singer/songwriters write songs that show how sensitive and intelligent they are, Paul almost revels in portraying himself in a harsh light and is not afraid of appearing a complete arsehole. It was an approach used by Patrik Fitzgerald back in Punk times. There are musical parallels with Punk in songs like There Ain’t No Carrot, There Ain’t No Stick but mostly it is in the in-your-face vocals and fearless lyrics that the Punk spirit continues. As an album, We Are Not Other People is uneven and can annoy, amuse or fascinate at different times – but it just won’t allow itself to be treated as background.

I Had A Friend In Sarah Vincent is a near ten minute song about murder and betrayal set in the early years of the 20th Century. Throwing in the claustrophobia of village life, animal passion, unrequited love, and jealousy, Paul Hawkins leads you into a story that ends in a hanging, like all good stories do…

I Had A Friend In Sarah Vincent by Paul Hawkins

I Had A Friend In Sarah Vincent by Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences (clip)

On The Battle Is Over Paul comes right up to date and sings about a soldier returning from a war in foreign lands. Problem is his wife won’t have him back. The song contains some great male:female duelling vocals – courtesy of Diana De Cabarrus from Candythief – with lines like “I went and fought a war for you” vs “Well I never, ever asked you to” and “I defended my country in it’s hour of need” vs “It was hardly on its knees”.

The Battle Is Over by Paul Hawkins

The Battle Is Over by Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences (clip)

Big Dave described this track as “like Jilted John trying to do Nick Cave with a backing by the Invisible Girls”. I think he meant it as a criticism – but I’m quite happy with that as a description of Paul Hawkins & The Awkward Silences.

Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences

1 Comment

  1. Yes, it was indeed a criticism, and judging by ‘I had a friend in Sarah Vincent’, I’d say he’s been listening to Cave’s ‘Murder Ballads’ fairly heavily…

    Comment by Big Dave — November 3, 2008 @ 10:10 am

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