The Turning Gem

Music, Film, Family

Album Review: H. Hawkline – Milk For Flowers

Artist: H. Hawkline

Album: Milk For Flowers

Label: Heavenly Recordings

“A nun gathers roses in the pouring rain, their thorns piercing her thumbs. A bittersweet perfume hangs in the air of a milk-warm night as beloved hands and feet are sculpted in the marble of memory, and waxen votives melt at the altar of a merciless god. On H. Hawkline’s fifth solo album, beauty flourishes in the corners of grief’s desecrated church; jewelling the cobwebs, gilding the dust, and making a relic of its creator’s arrow-shot heart.”

– Diva Harris

Now and then the impassioned words of a journalist announce the arrival of an artist at the doorstep of your soul. Valorous, lyrical, and picturesque – the writer leads you directly into the arms of a masterpiece. Such was the case as I read the above quote regarding H. Hawkline’s Milk For Flowers.

They came attached to an email promoting the album. “Holy shit,” I thought, “Who wrote that?!” And as I read the remainder of the press release, I began to enjoy my first experience listening to H. Hawkline.

“His plight is relentless. but refracted through his pen and pedals, it is also breathtaking; as clear and sharp and pure as shards of glass pushed between the listener!s ribs.”

– Diva Harris on H. Hawkline

An English writer named Diva Harris was responsible for the introduction and, with regard to the music possessing an elegant uniqueness, it took less than ten minutes for me to be as convinced as she was. Before the album was half through, I was reminded of rock and roll poets like David Bowie and Lou Reed. The dark iambics of David Sylvain and Nick Cave. The show-tune sensibility of Rufus Wainwright, and the bluesy gospel phrasings and chord progressions of George Harrison.

“Plastic Man” showcases nearly all of the above, as Hawkline sings – “Tennessee wrote it better/we got caught in the weather/a heat so hot you think you’ll drown” – a sauntering beat accompanied by piano, horns, and electric guitar is caught along with him. When he sings the word “rain,” you can smell it; the word “home,” you miss it, and on “Suppression Street,” you can feel the pressure of uncertainty, and taste the crushing of fruit.

“A tragedy protected by tomorrow

till I chew it and it bursts like a tomato

now I cry and creep, but

I’m a fluent so-so.”

Does it hurt any less to feel alone when you believe you’re unworthy of the company? Does it help to paint pictures of streets your feet have never felt if the ones you’re used to keep flooding?

The answers to hypothetical questions often lie shrouded under the echo of a song. When inner chirps ricochet off the walls of your skull often enough to become a chorus finger-pointing catastrophe – you can’t think your way out of the hole you’re in until you hear someone sing, “I wanna die – I wanna die happy.”

If anyone is looking for “the next David Bowie,” they’ll never find him. This is something fans of contemporary pop music seem to have trouble comprehending. Anyone remotely worthy of a title like that would laugh it off like the joke it is – then release an album like Milk For Flowers.

Rating: 5/5

Buy Milk For Flowers on Amazon.

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.


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