HAWKS: Rub  

Trans Ruin Records

Atlanta band HAWKS raises the bar on all fronts with its second album, Rub. Although the songs here still don't capture the raw immediacy of the group's live presence, there's no way to effectively re-create the experience of a naked man jumping out of the speakers and screaming in your face. Instead, the album's full-bodied complexities swell in "A Future Reaping" and the discordant piano and drum tussle of "Holy Day," proving that there's more to HAWKS' abilities than aggressive displays of male angst - although there's plenty of that here, too. "Hung" and "Late Bloomer" are bigger than anything the group brought to the table with its '09 debut, Barnburner. A nod to the Jesus Lizard guides the searing guitar throughout, and vocalist Mike Keenan's lumberjack growl channels the spirit of the entire AmRep legacy. But an experimental trudge fills in the spaces between the monstrous rhythms, giving the album a brutal sense of refinement. (4 out of 5 stars)

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