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Pedigreed Pop Unit Hawk Explores Love's Complications With "Listen Like Thieves" (premiere)

Photo: Jill Amroze

Hawk brings together members of the Jayhawks, the Posies, and Elvis Costello & the Attractions for a collection of powerful pop numbers.

There's something strange afoot in "Listen Like Thieves", the new video from hard-edged melodic pop outfit Hawk culled from the album Bomb Pop. "It's a song about unrequited love in too-close quarters," says David Hawkins, the man who leads the group that shares several letters with his surname. "The lyrics speak to being lovesick but musically it's pure exuberance, which brings a kind of true-to-life ambivalence to the song which I really like. Life isn't as simple as most songs would have you believe."

The video picks up on a storyline that launched with the single "Not Just Lonely". In that clip, the Green Man (Lionel Powell) met the Beauty (Elena Terese) and went on a fun if peculiar first date. Flash forward to life after their romance has faded: Elena still lives above a deeply devastated Green Man, who wants only to win her back. How does he hope to do this? By gifting her with music she inspired him to created, of course.

But the videos, Hawkins says, are about more than mending a broken heart. "They're a metaphor for the urgent need to have mankind reconnect with nature. That's the first step we need to take to heal the earth. And," he adds, "ourselves."

Hawk brings together an all-star musical cast, one that includes drummer Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello, Johnny Cash), Ken Stringfellow (the Posies, Big Star) on bass and more plus Jayhawks man Gary Louris (vocals) and guitarist Aaron Bakker (Be). The aforementioned David Hawkins is an abstract painter and co-founder of the avant-garde "happening" group the Black Mountain Collective.

The new, Bomb Pop, LP solidifies the direction heard on previous albums such as I'm on Fire, Princess America, and Rock 'n' Roll. "This is my dream band," Hawkins says. "You can hear the fun we had on Bomb Pop."

With members scattered in a variety of directions (Louris resides in North Carolina; Stringfellow is based in France), Hawk garnered major attention in Chicago, a place Hawkins has been known to call home. The city's WXRT and the Chicago Sun-Times were early champions of the outfit's powerful pop stylings, still fresh and resonant on this latest effort.

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