[sic] Magazine

Hawkeyes / The Radiation Flowers – Split LP

he rf cover 1 - Copy

If you talk the talk, you must also of course walk the walk. Hard-rocking, Ontario 6-piece Hawkeyes open this split LP with Saskatoon psych-gaze starlets The Radiation Flowers (formerly Powder Blue) with a spectacularly titled, 12-minute instrumental by the name of “Atom Heart Motherfuckers Never Learn”. Just as per their 2013 debut, luckily it – neither the 40-minute album itself – disappoint in its wake. Navigating an atmospheric opening built on reverbed post-punk riffing and sci-fi drones and cymbal shimmers, the heavy stuff soon steams in, muscular drums and solemn space-rock playing out like a dusty 8-track lodged in the deck of the JMC mining ship Red Dwarf rather than that of the sleek USS Enterprise. Seemingly never done, an explosive climax eventually whips itself into a sludgy stupor, cosmic contrails strung out like a jellyfish’s tentacles. More closely aligned with the band’s previous acid-fried split with Saskatchewan longhairs Shooting Guns, “Creator Destroyer” closes the side, layering from humble acoustic beginnings to a gargantuan blast of fizzy, feedback-scoured stadium-rock, a sanity-questioning spoken vocal floundering low down in the mix as if it were drowning.

On their side of the platter, The Radiation Flowers continue with their new-found noisier template and pick up where their varied Summer Loop EP, also released this July, left off. Three tracks more modestly proportioned than those of Hawkeyes, they launch straight in “33 Floors Up”, a track that doesn’t bother with an intro and instead immediately delivers a headlong bout of super-sized, Moon Duo-style, scorched-earth kraut-psych, the sort of track where you just have to grab on to something and helplessly let it race past. Altogether dreamier and like the cream it is, Shelby Gaudet’s vocal rises to the top of twinkling shoegazer “Never Fade” in order to avoid the track’s strong psychedelic undertow. Somewhere between Elizabeth Fraser and Hope Sandoval, she then sounds hopelessly forlorn against the backdrop of a slo-mo battle scene in “Always On The Ground”, simply trying to find her way amidst momentous drums and coruscating broadsides of stoner fuzz, Hammond organ and synth. Hawkeyes and The Radiation Flowers don’t just walk the walk, they strut it straight down centre-stage.

Best tracks: “Atom Heart Motherfuckers Never Learn” and “33 Floors Up”

~The Hawkeyes / The Radiation Flowers Split LP is out now on coloured vinyl and CDR with vinyl-replica jacket via the collaborative efforts of Sunmask and Cardinal Fuzz.~

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