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Rhythm & Views

Ladyhawk

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There's nothing flashy about Ladyhawk, but the guitars are compressed into a delicious low crunch; the hooks sink in slow and deep; and the lead singer's name is Duffy Driediger. They're from Vancouver, and there are tinges of The Replacements, Dinosaur Jr. and Teenage Fanclub--straight-up guitar rock that relies on its own internal structure for support.

The chorus on "The Dugout" is jangly, bouncy pop, and "My Old Jacknife" centers on a guitar hook and handclaps. But lest you think they're just another pop band, "Long 'Til the Morning," arguably the best song on the album (and the longest), begins with strange noises and then goes from droning rock to ghostly "ooohs" and back again. The reverb on Driediger's voice makes him sound like he's as faraway and cold as Canada, the drums do something tribal and disturbing, and at about the 4:45 mark, a wail of "Don't go!" bleeds into a guitar-chord tantrum--this is some wicked witchcraft. Even after all that madness, "Came in Brave" brings back in the jangly pop hooks with enough of that compressed crunch to keep it gritty. "Advice" actually delivers some sound reality checks: "Your good looks are fading, so fuck who you will," sings Driediger, "don't work for nothing, don't work for free." "New Joker" ends the record on an acoustic blues guitar that turns into that same guitar crunch that's peppered the whole album. Ladyhawk keeps it simple, stupid, and they're all the better for it.

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