Hawksley Workman is a Toronto singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has released over 10 albums, not including his latest two projects, Meat and Milk. Meat was released January 19, while Milk will be digitally released over the next few months.
After listening through the album in its entirety, I decided I wasn’t a fan. After going back to it a few minutes later I decided it wasn’t so bad. It’s not that the album doesn’t contain any good songs (it does), but rather listening through the entire thing in one sitting is simply the wrong way to approach it. This is because some songs are slow and repetitive, though not necessarily bad. In fact, the best song is the eight-minute epic “You Don’t Just Want to Break Me (You Want to Tear Me Apart).” Other standout tracks include “French Girl in LA,” which has a nice blend of distorted guitar and electronic effects, and “Song for Sarah Jane,” the stripped-down and vocal-based opening song.
Workman seems to approach writing lyrics with a minimalist attitude – not in the sense that there are few vocals, but in that the same words are repeated over and over. However, Workman is able to make this, well, work. His changes in tone allow the minimal lyrics to be interpreted as heartfelt or tongue-in-cheek, depending on the context.
While it may be best suited for a Master of Puppets get-a-taste-of-it listen instead of a Dark Side of the Moon play-the-whole-thing listen, Meat is still a decent release – one which the forthcoming Milk will hopefully live up to.