Hawkbaby - Stupid Music for Stupid People (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Stupid Music for Stupid People (2021)

My Mind's Eye

Hawkbaby are weird and wonderful. The band sees the world through a sort of wide eye, but damaged, naivety. Stupid Music for Stupid People is charged with the frantic ADHD mindset of Geza X’s You Goddam Kids and the earliest era of Devo. These songs are spiky and spastic and at once silly and serious.

Singer ”Hawk Cock” warbles and spits out shrill proclamations throughout. “He Said She Said” has a part where the song breaks down and Hawk Cock does vocal gymnastics that sound like he is trying to make the sound of the tornado in Wizard of Oz. He sounds like a mad man that has been mad for a while and there’s no one there to corral him in. But then, on “Pop Punk Saved My Life,” he sort of adopts the serious tone heard by Jello Biafra on “Enchanted Thoughtfist,” and howls out the title. Is this a moment of clarity and earnestness in this cranked out release? It sounds like it and that’s what makes the release hit as hard as it does in 20 minutes. At one part, Hawk Cock is screaming about his bathroom problems and then, at another, he’s essentially treading the same waters as Elton John’s sentimental “someone saved my life tonight.”

A big part of the impact of the album certainly comes from the music itself. Even though this is a relatively new group, the band sounds like they formed just before the advent of new Wave, when the sound of that genre was mean and dangerous- see, for example, Dow Jones and the Industrials or the Comateens. “Pour Man” has keyboard twinking that sounds like a Saturday morning cartoon before the band drops into a low swinging guitar smash. “Cazadores” skips along with bouncy rhythm and whimsical percussion while Carnival sound effects and video game noise bleep in the background. There is also a cowbell. Nice.

At 20 minutes, the album is over as soon as it starts, although between the eight tracks, there are about 75 twists and turns. The old adage is “always leave them wanting more.” Well, boy do I want more.