All my friends know I’m a indie and alternative rock girl. Mostly I find typical pop music uninspired. To my ear it all sounds flat and dull. Then, Hawking flashed onto my radar. Their music indeed blew my skirt up. They sounded fresh and complicated in a sea of pedestrian pop. In my research I kept seeing a phrase used in association with Hawking, “Math Rock”. I’ll let Wikipedia define it for me “Math rock: It is characterized by complex, typical rhythmic structures (including irregular stopping and starting, counterpoint, odd time signatures, angular melodies, and extended, often dissonant, chords.” (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Math_rock). They should have had a pic of Hawking.
Of course, first the facts. Hawking is made up of Tom Vanderkam lead guitar, Saul Sitar bassist, vocalist Chris Young, and drummer and vocalist Chartwell Kerr. They formed up in 2012 in British Columbia. After a massive car accident that injured the entire band in 2013, it took them until Summer 2014 to finish their first tour of the U.S. and Canada. Hawking released their only EP, the self titled and self funded HAWKING in 2015 to huge critical acclaim. They tour extensively around the North West.
Hawking weaves the different aspects of their music together like an intricate basket. The guitar is plucked, almost as another arm of the rhythm. Bass and drums weave in and out and often bounce off each other. For the entire EP, Chris Young’s vocals range from floaty to deep and booming. Sometimes the songs sail smoothly then ricochet into a startling staccato. Complicated timing is everywhere. But for all that, Hawking knits it all into entertaining but challenging pop music. The first track, “Safe and Sound”, is light and airy, with powerful vocals, jazzy almost, and intricate arrangements. The second song, “Cold Hands”, begins as bouncy and energetic, to coast to a softer melody and almost choppy rhythm. “Books On Tape” has a faster driving melody and rhythm, a plucking guitar style and is the hardest rocking song on the EP. It’s probably my favorite. “Diastole” has a great guitar section , stylistically reminiscent of Edge from U2, and has the strongest vocals. This one seems angrier than the others. “Systolic” has a wonderful separate adjoining guitar sequence.
From front to back, Hawking is a delightful surprise. Their EP is available from all online music retailers, as well as Bandcamp.
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This has all the tour dates and social media links you need.