Hawk and Dove - Our Childhood Heroes - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Hawk and Dove - Our Childhood Heroes

by Bill Golembeski Rating:9 Release Date:2019-01-18
Hawk and Dove - Our Childhood Heroes
Hawk and Dove - Our Childhood Heroes

Our Childhood Heroes is a slow-burning rock record that ignites from time to time with incendiary guitar sounds.

And it’s a concept album to boot!

Now, as a digression, I confess an eternal love for Jethro Tull’s mother of all concert albums, Thick as a Brick, which is summarized in its final line that says, “your wise men don’t know how it feels to be thick as a brick.”

To be fair, this sounds nothing like Tull, but that sentiment is pretty much the order of the day here. The band explains, “We have just finished an album miracle cure adventure…while also looking at our generational search for luxury and ease at the expense of other people’s further-away-lives.”

And (quoting the band once again), “We wish we were still ignorant. So we work very hard at not seeing the knowledge, the violence, that exists.”

Thick bricks, indeed!

“Taxidermy Eden” states the obvious. Adam and Eve (weirdly displayed in the great video!) sit in dead comfort and are surrounded by a stuffed world of “animals” with whom Jethro Tull’s “wise men” have made “deals.” Yeah, they all trophies of arrogance. And mythical Eden is now T.S. Eliot’s Wasteland.

But, thankfully, the song is a beautiful bit of somber and intense rock music. And Joan Chew’s backing vocals haunt the taxidermy in the tune.

Now, didn’t Dylan ask about “How many times must a cannon ball fly?”

Well, the absolutely profound song “The Company You Keep” simply says those “cannonballs” still “fly.” The lyrics are a litany (and possible a liturgy) that lists the headcount (with slow whip-like precision) of the “slaves” that are in “the soles of your sneakers,” “the spices that you cook with,” “the diamonds that you gave to your love,” “the badges you have paid to protect you,” and also “inside your TV and the soda in your fridge”; yes, indeed, there are always “slaves”-- all of which reside in the comfort of our “Taxidermy Eden.” This is a tough song that echoes (my favs) Roy Harper, Peter Hammill, and Kevin Coyne in their more poignant moments.

 Of course, (the great) Richard Thompson once sang, “We’re all working for Pharaoh.”  

But getting back to the subject of concept albums, second only to Thick as a Brick (for the length of its title alone!) is Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. And yes, once again to be quite fair, this doesn’t sound like Ian Anderson & Company, but Elijah Miller’s vocals resemble, at times, The Thin White Duke singing “Soul Love” or “Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide.”

Sorry, yet another digression: I saw an expensive set of Jesus-in-the manger scene with Mary, Joseph, several shepherds, the odd cow, and a sheep, and, perhaps, Jethro Tull’s three wise men. It was hand-painted by someone in China, who was probably paid a little more than a Vietnamese person who made the sportswear attire that graces my workout in a retirement life that is provided by a union, which is a blasphemy of a word that is not a common currency in China or Viet Nam.

You know, Kurt Vonnegut’s “So it goes” comment in Slaughterhouse-Five simply becomes more profound every fifteen days and twenty-two minutes--which is the exact time it takes the moon Titan to orbit that gas giant of a planet Saturn.

But, ultimately, despite all the philosophical hemming and hawing about the state of the world’s economy, Jesus manger sets, and workout sweatshop togs, this record must rise and fall (just like Ziggy Stardust) on the merit of the songs. I mean, The Who’s Tommy is a convoluted tale at best, but “Pinball Wizard” stands as a great single entity. It lures the listener into the plausibility of the album.

So, sure, this is a deep concept record, but it plays the cards on the table with good tunes galore.  “Waste All the Time” could be a distant cousin to The Moody Blues psych sound. “A Medication List” rocks infectiously a bit more than the rest of the album and has the complex post-punk rhythm of, say, XTC’s “Making Plans for Nigel.” “American Triumph” oozes irony. “RG 40” is the waiting room hopeful dirge. “A Golden Age Addiction” is a pensive tune that morphs into a glorious guitar solo. “Smoke and Lungs” is languid and lovely with yet another sublime bit of guitar. John Kleber plays the sound of his soul. Mick Ronson did that, too. The same is true for “Fractions.” The guitar intensity pulses the tune against some sort of dangerous tide. Then “India” chants rock music. “A Memory Made” is (almost) reggae. And “Dreaming of Flying” is a return to riff-driven and just plain wonderful psychedelic rock.

“For Jack” ends the album with a quiet and very patient guitar melody, which serves as a de-escalation of all the pathos that has transgressed the grooves. It’s a nice epilogue, and may well be a sip of salvation and some sort of resolution.

In the end (to quote Jim Morrison) perhaps, all stupidity, all wisdom, every revolution of the moon Titan around Saturn can somehow resolve itself into a rock ‘n’ roll concept album, revolving at 33-1/3 vinyl rpm. Heck, any album that manages the couplet “You’ve got good news/Split molecules” is all right with me. This record takes time and attention. It is a slow burn, like a distant moon, praying while spinning in its dark orbit. But it’s also a melodic flame that casts an enduring glimpse upon the sadly luxurious and deeply taxidermized time in our very modern Eden.

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