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Ladyhawk - Shots (Cover Artwork)

Ladyhawk

Ladyhawk: ShotsShots (2008)
Jagjaguwar

Reviewer Rating: 3.5


Contributed by: adamAdam
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I can't sleep in anymore. I think it happened between my first and second year of university, once I had left the surreal dorm world behind and started working days. Whatever the reason, something shifted. It works out rather conveniently from Monday to Friday but on weekend mornings I often find my.
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I can't sleep in anymore. I think it happened between my first and second year of university, once I had left the surreal dorm world behind and started working days. Whatever the reason, something shifted. It works out rather conveniently from Monday to Friday but on weekend mornings I often find myself up and haunting the lower floors of our house while my partner remains in bed. These are the slow, quiet hours, when the bright morning sun and strong coffee work to shake the fog left by the prior evening. Whatever seeds of fury or purpose that exist simply won't be acted upon until the sun's higher and I'm fully awake. This is the time of day Ladyhawk evokes. They're masters of the slow burn yet never get lost shoegazing. I can't think of another modern band that can so completely captures this mood.

The band owes a lot to `60s psych bands like the 13th Floor Elevators and garage innovators like the Seeds. They're schooled in the type of heavy, melodic rock that Neil Young and Crazy Horse popularized. And while their roots go that deep, their aesthetic and attitude owes much to Dinosaur Jr. (and by extension the Replacements). The detached slacker image that J. Mascis so effortlessly crafted loomed large on Ladyhawk's first record and it does once again on Shots. If the album disappoints, it's that it lacks singles with the instantly endearing and uplifting hooks of "The Dugout" and "My Old Jacknife." The three songs that that open this album are regardless very strong, with "Fear" standing out as one of the better built tracks of the year. It spoils the listener by loading three or four strong melodic ideas into four short minutes. After that opening salvo, Shots becomes decidedly more restrained. Momentum's never truly lost, but the band meanders a bit. Of course, Ladyhawk doesn't move too fast by design, and they seem quite comfortable lumbering through sleepier tracks like "Corpse Paint" and the 10-minute marathon "Ghost Blues." "Night You're Beautiful" makes an impression, with backing vocals straight out of "Walk on the Wild Side" and some crunchy Rust Never Sleeps guitar work. Shots rounds out a 10-song run with "Different Beginnings," an inspired, if somewhat paranoid, alt-country gallop with a hint of the Byrds in the chorus.

Shots is as frustrating as it is rewarding. I don't know if it's self-control or self-defeat, but the band seems to pull back on the reins more than the record requires. It remains a quality piece of work, just one that lacks the impact the Ladyhawk clearly has the skills to deliver. I'm hesitant to fault the band too much on this though as if there's one thing most bands fail at, it's exercising restraint. This all keeps Ladyhawk's work from being too top heavy or self-important. While it's not demanding your attention it's infinitely re-listenable. I'd love to see Ladyhawk release three records a year, warts and all, because they could pull it off without becoming tiresome. There's plenty bands I love that I wouldn't even ask that of.

 


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Bigfoot (October 10, 2008)

honestly, if anything in the last four our five years deserves a perfect score, it's ladyhawks last two albums, (plus fight for anarchy lp), maybe it's a Canadian thing?

imnotpunk (August 28, 2008)

score is for ladyhawke

blanktapesemptybottles (August 27, 2008)

the lyrics are pretty sick I'll have to pick this up

chrisafi (August 26, 2008)

Nice review.

Personally, I'm a wakeup after midday man, which maybe explains why i havent gotten into this band

Sliced-T (August 26, 2008)

Some of the songs on this album fall kind of flat, but over all it's pretty damn good. I think Ladyhawk is on the verge of putting out a really, really great record.

Mrdogg45 (August 26, 2008)

God forbid Ladyhawk ever get their shit together, stop dicking around and make a complete rock album. Woooo boy, the blood would run in the streets.

kidgotham (August 26, 2008)

I really liked this album when it came out, and it has grown on me some more. The lead-off track "I don't always know what your saying" is great.
The score is for the album, however, I got a nasty rash on my hands at one of their shows, So that gets a 0.
There were more neckbeards at the show then at a HWM gig. Even the ladies had them.

bryne (August 26, 2008)

This sounds interesting, I'll check it out.

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