Tommy Hawkins is an exciting new project from the experienced Canadian musicians Thomas D’Arcy and Hawksley Workman. Amy, the duos debut EP, features an eccentric, ever evolving sound that is simultaneously seamless and intense. It is an incredibly rewarding EP that is more than worth a good listen. The band takes calculated chances that pay off in wonderful ways. Possibly the most exciting thing about Amy as a debut is that this is just the beginning of what Tommy Hawkins has to offer.
The first track, Love Will Destroy Who It Wants, opens with a desperate, almost screaming vocal line sung by D’Arcy. He is accompanied by a sparing but powerful guitar line before transitioning to a more melodic, steadily rhythmic chorus. The two musicians play back and forth between these two feelings throughout the songs progression lending the track a quality of movement. That’s The Way I Walk is one of the most fun songs on the EP. The barking lead vocal line is contrasted wonderfully by the smooth, precise backing vocals and the addition of a synthesizer. The evolution of sound featured on this EP is fascinating. Just when you think you have them figured out the duo will smash expectations with a sudden guitar lick, scream or new, unexpected instrument. This tendency to experiment adds an organic feeling to the entire project. The Best Of Me opens with a slow, steady piano which is shortly joined by a beautiful organ line, another awesome choice of alternative keyboard instruments. The vocal line starts out pretty and introspective before very naturally progressing to a clawing, screaming end. The end of the track is a wonderful wall of sound. A sudden ripping guitar line, a slightly creepy, repetitive backing vocal and a strange beeping noise that can be heard behind the still pounding piano come together to bring it all together. The fourth track, Don’t Make A Mess Of Our Love, is unbeatable in the pure forward motion of the vocal line. The long, complex melody of the verses makes this song a pleasure to fall into. Plain Old Amy begins very simply but features one of the most interesting choruses on the EP. The chorus is lyrically beautiful they sing “When I walk she walks, when I fall apart she dies but I don’t need a lover in disguise.” The chorus ends with powerful interesting guitar licks which transition very interestingly back into the verses. The Same Mistakes is the final track on the EP. It features a great lo-fi opening before picking up some additional instruments and a harmony line towards the middle of the track. As the powerful, complex harmony picks up it really starts to feel like a fantastic ending.
Amy is a great first step for Tommy Hawkins. The two musicians bring out an experimental aspect in one another that is very worthwhile. It is a multilevel EP that has lots of wonderful hidden moments to catch throughout many listens. A full length album is definitely something to look forward to.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: TOMMY HAWKINS – AMY