10 Hawksley Workman in the bedroom in the daytime.mp3
11 Hawksley Workman prettier face.mp3
12 Hawksley Workman oh you delicate heart.mp3
13 Hawksley Workman fatty wants to dance.mp3
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Since releasing his debut album, For Him and the Girls, in 1999, Hawksley Workman has released nine more albums — that’s ten records in almost as many years. Of those ten, six can be found on the shelves of your local record store, and three more can be purchased off Hawksley’s official website or at his shows.
So what about that elusive tenth album?
Well, it’s called Los Manlicious, and it was released last week in select parts of Europe only. It’s only fair, I guess, since just four months ago, Canadians were treated to Between the Beautifuls, released only in Canada.
This cunning plan — the record label’s plan, that is — is to maximize profit by releasing niche albums to specific demographics. Canada got another introspective, acoustic-driven album, while Europe got fast, loud, catchy rock ‘n’ roll.
Whatever the logic behind this decision, Canadian Hawksley fans are scrambling to hear this album any way they can: some are resorting to illegal downloads, while others — like myself — are paying too much money to import the CD from websites like Amazon.com.
The thing is, the effort is worth it. Los Manlicious may be Hawksley’s best album since 2001’s (Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves. It’s original yet catchy, eccentric yet coherent, and just plain rocks. Tracks like “When You Gonna Flower” and “Is This What You Call Love?” are as heavy as they come, layered with crunchy distorted guitars and fat drum beats, and topped off with Hawksley’s most powerful vocal performances in years. “Lonely People” is a slick pop-rock tune with beautifully layered background vocals, and “Kissing Girls” is easily the best song to ever make me dance the Robot. Hawksley explores some new ground with “Girls On Crutches,” a slow, electronic-sounding tune led by synth-bass, accompanied by a weird saxophone melody and a painfully catchy chorus. And the album’s closing track, “Fatty Wants to Dance,” sounds like the theme song from Shaft.
Need I say more?
And if you’re not convinced yet, just listen to “It’s a Drug,” which is one of the best Hawksley Workman songs ever written.
Los Manlicious is certainly a more mainstream rock album than his earlier work. But, unlike his 2003 album Lover/Fighter (which strived for a similar goal), this album sounds — and feels — like classic Hawksley.
When I spoke with Hawksley a few months ago, he told me that he’d “really like to have a hit record before North America collapses into economic ruin.” Well, if Universal ever realizes their blunder and distributes Los Manlicious on this continent, he might just get his wish.
Harder and edgier, Hawksley Workman – one of Canada’s most prolific and versatile artists today – is back with a brand new album, ‘Los Manlicious.’
Throughout his growing 10-album career, Hawksley has bridged gaps between indie-rock and hip-hop, country, anthemic rock, and soaring love sonnets. His latest release, ‘Los Manlicious’, is no exception. From its opener, the growling, lustful, “When You Gonna Flower?”, and the explosive “Is This What You Call Love?”, ‘Los Manlicious’ explores the sultry (“Girls On Crutches”), the tenderhearted (“Delicate Heart”), and the patriotic (“The City Is A Drag”), all with a twist of modern hits, and the brilliance of a classic collection.
“Hawksley’s best album since 2001.” – Mondo
- straight.com (Canada)
When Hawksley Workman released Between The Beautifuls earlier this year, it was to tremendous critical response and fans justifiably awestruck at the singer’s sudden turn. Where once the singer found new innovative and fantastic ways to intermingle spirits of romance both high and low brow with garish electronics and hooks that had a habit of catching you when you weren’t looking, Between The Beautifuls saw him spontaneously changing directions into distinctly and unmistakably classic rock-sounding provinces. Suddenly Bruce Springsteen became the reference that Hawksley began garnering as critics wondered if Between The Beautifuls was the first shot in what would be the singer’s mature sound.
They’d be wrong however. See, in Hawksley Workman’s case, the aesthetic is part of the thrill for the singer, but the act is the thing he lives for and, with Los Manlicious, he’s proven without saying so that the ’mature sound’ was just another act of persona piracy and he’s grown bored with it – so he’s going to move on.
From the first crash of “When You Gonna Flower,” Hawksley Workman sounds notice in no uncertain terms that he’s rewritten his character again. Now appearing for the first time with a shorn head in the liner photos and with enormous (as well as enormously distorted) guitars dominating the songs, Los Manlicious is the singer’s presentation of a much more robust Hawksley Workman. On first listen, the brain recoils instinctively at the song’s in-your-face guitar licks and Hawksley’s hyper-masculine vocal delivery, but listeners find themselves reaching to hear it again as it fades because the difference between that one song alone and anything the singer has done previously is enormous and instantly attractive. While Hawksley has always commanded attention because his almost vaudevillian vocal delivery is just so alien; with “When You Gonna Flower,” the singer doesn’t ask politely for or command attention, he just reaches out and takes it.
While the heavy power chording of the intro track doesn’t continue throughout the record, the attention-grabbing spirit does. As Manlicious progresses, Hawksley Workman tries on the staple sounds of Eighties rock royalty including (but not limited to) The Police (“Kissing Girls” and “It’s A Drug”), The Cure (“Prettier Face”). The Eagles (“In The Bedroom In The Daytime”) and Duran Duran (“Lonely People”) – cat-birding each one but also injecting a bit of himself into each as well – and reinventing his image again (including, in a self-reflexive moment, re-working “The City Is A Drag” and “Oh You Delicate Heart” from Between The Beautifuls) step-by-step in the process. It’s actually pretty cool to hear each track on the record take the singer another step out of what listeners have come to expect from the singer, even from the songs they might recognize.
It’s also important to note that, on records previous, Hawksley Workman has always gotten listeners to fall in love with him by keeping a certain abstract romanticism close at hand so that, even when he’s coyly asking a girl to strip tease for him for example, he still comes off as sweet and a little chased. That romance is abandoned on Los Manlicious in favor of the singer asking point blank for S-E-X (the “Lipstick makes you f**k like a disaster” line in “In My Blood” should be proof enough) and by the closing “Fatty Wants To Dance” he’s slipped totally into Prince mode as he sleazes his way out onto the dance floor accompanied by a carousing bass line, gang choral refrains and a wah guitar that’s instant panty remover. While the idea of subtlety has always been one of the tools that Hawksley Workman has used to the greatest advantage, he doesn’t bother here and that omission is remarkably tantalizing rather than off-putting.
That said, Los Manlicious is about as far from anything fans have heard from Hawksley Workman before as he’s ever been. It’s dirty, it’s carnal and totally lacking in the sort of artifice we’ve come to expect from the singer. Even so, it’s not unwelcome in the slightest; as “Fatty Wants To Dance” fades, listeners will be reaching for the repeat button to have the singer do it to them again.