A couple of years ago I saw a band from Vancouver, BC play in a tiny venue called Brothers Drake Meadery. Columbus favorites Playing to Vapors provided the local support that night. That band was called Hawking.
Back then, Hawking showcased a mixture of sounds that could be defined as Chon meets Two Door Cinema Club, with a bit more emphasis on the math rock riffs. On their debut full length album Diverge, they expand on that sound while at the same time throwing some more muscle and accessibility to the music.
Hawking may have acheived the goal of most bands trying to make it in the industry. That is, produce a record that ought to be accessible by the masses without compromising their core sound. That’s somewhat of a unicorn in this industry, so I salute them.
There is such a cornucopia of rock subgenres on this album to be honest I’m having a hard time knowing where to start. “Stepping Stone” goes from simple pop rock in quiet moments, to pop punk in the gang vocals, to math rock in some of the guitar work. Album opener “Catalyst” appropriately has a huge hook and is a bit easier to pin down stylistically but both songs I just mentioned are easily digestible.
Some well placed synth pushes the album toward arena rock territory too, if I’m being honest. Almost a Panic! at the Disco meets Phoenix vibe. You might be getting tired of my name dropping by now but I’ll do what I want, darn it! “Outside” is a good example of this, along with the aforementioned opening track.
The main deviations from the danceable genre-mash up include “North of the Black Sea” which sounds like what a post-hardcore band might put together in a moment of stillness, and album closer “Leave You Behind,” which comes across as a classic acoustic pop punk number.
Again, I have to give kudos to this band. They accomplish music that somehow both deviates from and sticks to a predictable songwriting formula. Predictability isn’t bad, especially when the spin is as as fresh and fun as this. The deeper you listen, the more intricacy you’ll find. I and the Hawking boys really hope you’ll listen.