Death Hawks - Death Hawks (Cargo Records)

Seriously mellow psychedelia...
Release Date: 
11 Oct 2013 - 12:30am

Get out your favourite opium pipe and give yourself over to Death Hawks shamanic genius. This is their second album and it's a fine, fine piece of work; opening with Night Children, a track that starts with all manner of mystical whisperings before it gets going with some deep grooving percussion as it builds to an almost Santana vibe. It's got layers and layers of rich instrumentation and top quality harmonies, and I'm loving it. These Icelandic peeps have nailed the psychedelic atmosphere with Teemu Markkula bringing some beautiful guitar work to the table (he also does vocal duties too, along with bassist Riku Pirttiniemi). Suddenly we're in the desert with Cain Go Home (2.Session) with violins and whistling like something out of A Fistful of Dollars. The electric guitars are a sweet match to the acoustics and it's a heady, atmospheric instrumental. 

Blind Daughter of Death continues the mellow acoustic picking accompanied by some smooth percussion courtesy of drummer Mikka Heikkinen (everyone involved on here does a brilliant job). The layers of instruments are fantastic like waves upon waves of ecstatic delight that caress the ears like a willing lover. An organ (the instrument, filthy readers) slips in, as does some restrained vocal work and everything surges and fades, surges and fades. Blimey! It's nice...

Grim-eyed Goat is up next and it's mellow like Planet Caravan mellow; it's all reverb and echo, and it demonstrates Death Hawks' ability to capture a 70s sound/attitude without slipping into falsehood and pastiche. Suddenly the track gets all sexy with interplay between the excellent guitar soloing, the billowing keyboards and the drums and bass. You think it's going to finish on the howling feedback but it slips back into the initial mellow refrain. Beautiful stuff.

Quiet Sun is so chilled I suspect my heart is beating like a sea turtle's; slow, slow, slower. It's bluesy and I want more pillows to sink back into; the vocals are almost sighed in ecstasy and it's an ultra-sensual track for lovers and lone masturbators alike. Cain Go Home (1.Session) is back to the cowboy theme but this time (I think) a mandoline does some lead intro work. The guitars are trippy and I sense this would have been a lot of fun to have been involved with - the cymbal work towards the end is great too. Trip-tastic.

Last track Black Acid is the longest one on here (clocking in at just over 9 minutes, not that you'd know) and it's got that kind of latin/Santana vibe again. But then some saxaphone drops in and it's groove and bongo bongo madness. I need to see these fellows in concert. It gets all Kraftwerk with some electro organs and it's organic like the pulsing rythyms of the body. It throbs, driving home the ritualistic/shamanistic qualities of these tunes. Suddenly it's over and I'm hitting replay. Suddenly it's over and I'm hitting replay again. And again.

An absolutely blindingly good album. Don't forget your tabs (and I don't mean your cigarettes...).