Review: Hawks and Doves

Hawks and Doves
Year One
No Idea Records
Even though Gared O’Donnell’s musical reputation—and voice—precede him, the songs on the Hawks and Doves’ debut album Year One are more or less a departure from those of his previous band Planes Mistaken for Stars. While the songwriting and vocalization are unmistakably those of O’Donnell, there’s a depth and melody throughout the record that contrast the sheer intensity of his previous endeavors. Recorded with a backing band that includes familiar names like George Rebelo (Hot Water Music) and Chad Darby (Averkiou), the songs originated from the group’s initial incarnation: O’Donnell and an acoustic guitar. The album's opener “Another Hellfire Sermon” is somber, cathartic, and sweetly melodious in a manner of minutes. The following track “Hush Money” is the record’s catchiest, most harmonious song, even though its coda—“What would you have me do, love? Look what you made me do”—is perhaps its most agonizing. “North of Tenth,” the album’s closer, looks towards a future not so stained with the confusion, pain, and agony of failed romance and broken bands, or as O’Donnell croons at the song’s end, “…It’s time to tell them goodnight and come alive…” Unlike Gared’s previous efforts—that really had to be witnessed live to truly appreciate—Year One is a near-flawless album that sonically documents a time of uncertainty and melancholy with the sweet melody of catharsis and healing.

Buy the album here!