Tonight at the Hideout, local math-metal instrumentalists Electric Hawk play a headlining set that features material from Electric Hawk II, their forthcoming second album. They expect to see copies of the LP back from the pressing plant in March; the album officially drops April 14, and there ought to be a release party sometime that month. Opening tonight’s show are RLYR (Trevor de Brauw of Pelican, Steven Hess of Locrian, and Colin DeKuiper of Bloodiest) and Exit Verse (a newish power trio led by Geoff Farina of Karate). The bill is basically wall-to-wall with Chicago scene lifers who’ve been in more bands than most people have had hairstyles.
Guitarist Michael Burns, drummer Noah Leger, and bassist Graham McLachlan recorded Electric Hawk II at Electrical Audio with Andrew Schneider, who’s also worked with Pelican, Cave In, and Big Business. Consequently, the drums sound amazing. (Actually it all sounds pretty damn fine, but I’m a drummer, so the drums are what I notice first.) “We mostly tracked and mixed to tape,” says Burns. “We are really nice guys and love animals.”
Electric Hawk have already posted three songs from the new album to Soundcloud, including today’s 12 O’Clock Track, “Sex Embargo.” I especially like the sarcastic lead guitar that enters at about 3:50. It’s as though these guys realize that playing bombastic, gratuitously complicated instrumental rock at this point in history (and at this point in their lives) is a faintly absurd and almost certainly unnecessary undertaking, but they love it so much they can’t help themselves—and to get around their own ambivalence, they sneak up on the music sideways.
I know I’m projecting (I’m 43 years old and still trying to start my next gratuitously complicated band), but as is so often the case when I’m projecting, I don’t care. Whatever the truth is, the song sounds thoroughly great.