Boomkat Product Review:
Torn Hawk yields a strikingly lush and lucid 4th album of mid/late ‘90s-style American synth vistas and MOR digitally filtered for 2016.
It’s a bit like William Orbit and Engima soundtracking a remake of American Beauty written by Shane Carruth; trading in the most ickily handsome yet melancholy musicianship, and cerebral yet alluringly emotive arrangements we’ve heard in some time.
After an album and 12” as Luke Wyatt, and subsequent trio of LPs as Torn Hawk, Union and Return finds him operating at full wingspan, taking away the stabilisers of lo-fi production to soar thru eleven digitally crisp and detailed scenes of castles-in-the-sky feels and swell-head American pomp.
Like James Ferraro and Oneohtrix Point Never before him, Wyatt tapes into an American subconsciousness that’s easily recognised by anyone from a country that’s fallen under US cultural programming, from radio to TV and film - i.e. the western world. Rendering an undulating mass of sonic references to yacht rock, country & western, rom-com OSTs, muzak and incidental TV themes, but often rooted in rolling, hypnotic rhythms nodding to Native American traditions, he does so with a far more ambiguous appeal than those lay-by long hairs and Grateful Dead types who still keep pushing an olde Americana that seems increasingly irrelevant with every year farther down the line (your social ideas may still be fertile but your music is just self-indulgent in the worst way).
So, with a castles-in-the-sky gaze and more quizzical turns-of-phrase and eyebrow-pitching chord changes than you can shake a selfie stick at, this is “delicate music as tough gesture” according to Mexican Summer, or, if you ask us, one of this year’s most oddly affective albums - especially if you grew up in the ‘90s.