Hawke

Heatstroke

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

The green, organic nature of the Bay Area really helps to explain the laid-back, feel-good vibes usually linked to music from that region. And not just the proto-hippie house stuff, but Miles Davis' cool West Coast jazz sound. Here, Hawke (aka Gavin Hardkiss) has come up with a diverse album that hits as much as it misses. Hardkiss succeeds where many fail. "Le le Lengwe," his nod to the Afro-beat sound of Femi Kuti, actually works, with stirring string washes over tastefully restricted beats. Another surprise is the hip-hop interlude on the unfortunately titled "Midnight Ravers." Vocalist Joe B. effectively punctuates the acid-heavy breakbeat cut without sounding like he was thrown in just for some cool points. Not so charming is the old-school tribal funk of "Pacificodelic" (would somebody please do something about these titles!). And the closer, "High on the Sea," is almost embarrassingly new age. You can't fault Hardkiss for trying, but the final judgment on Heatstroke eventually lies in one's ability to tolerate flowery sentiments.

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