Hawthorne Headhunters

Myriad of Now

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This is the first full-length release from the Los Angeles (by way of St. Louis) duo of Coultrain and Black Spade, aka Hawthorne Headhunters. The tracks on the album can be divided into two categories: the self-indulgent messes that sound like they were thrown together by talented 14 year olds with access to someone's collection of old Cameo LPs, and the quirky but brilliant neo-funk tracks that draw simultaneously on old-school R&B and new-school electro to create something both forward-looking and traditional. The unbelievably awkward "Teleport" is a mess; it neither features a real melody nor any groove to speak of, nor lyrics worth listening to. "My Sweetheart the Drunk" and "Luv Galactic" are both much better, and feature very fine vocals from I Am. "Yellow Cougar" is also much more engaging, largely because the beats are straightforward and steady, and the sweetly layered backing vocals (from I Am again) give the whole track a lovely sheen. "No Cryin' Now, No Lyin' Down," on the other hand, falls somewhere in the middle: the sung melody is a mess, but the harmonies are lovely; the groove is plodding, but at least it's solid, whereas "Whirlwind" features a clear and attractive melody and not much else, and "Ghostfields" is an instrumental built on a brilliantly funky groove and nicely pairs goofy synthesizer sounds with what sounds like a real acoustic guitar. "Fairweather" features some fine tag-team rapping from Von Pea and Haz Solo, and "Hole in the World" is electro-soul that chugs along on a sort of house-based beat. "Tribute" ends the album on a staggering 6/8 non-groove that leaves the listener disoriented and not particularly inspired. Strip out about half of the tracks on this program and you'd have a great EP; as a full-length album, though, it's a mixed success at best.

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