It would be both inaccurate and unfair to describe the sensation engendered by this new Hawke record as "nostalgia," but one can't help but be overwhelmed by past glories. The sense of displaced modernity that permeates Love Won Another is not unfamiliar, though; Gavin Hardkiss (aka Hawke) has always been about that particular collision. The Hardkiss "family" of DJs was a hugely influential catalyst for the trippy, West Coast breaks sound of the mid-'90s, though their acclaim never translated into huge record sales.

      All of the Hardkiss boys – Gavin, Scott and Robbie – have moved on since they disbanded their label in 1998, but it's telling that all of them still trade on the Hardkiss name (not so much for its marketability, but for its easy evocation of a sonic ethos). Love Won Another fits neatly into the collective Hardkiss discography with its deeply funky beats, drenching positivity and colorfully psychedelic arrangements. But it also gives plenty of indication that Gavin Hardkiss might want to move past the sound – or at least the reputation – established more than a decade ago on Delusions of Grandeur. 

      "Play that Hardkiss song … from the summer of 2001," sings a vague and disembodied voice on "Juanita Cabana," LWA's closing track. Stealing both melody and melancholy from "Hotel California," the song is a somber and slightly overdone number that makes it clear how trapped Gavin must feel by expectations that he's been trying for years to get past.

      Hawke has been a consistently surprising enterprise, incorporating live instrumentation and an emphasis on songwriting that's generally overlooked in electronic music.  And this album – from the Prince-referencing title to the preening pop of "Flower Girl" and the Scandinavian thump of "Fly Fly Fly Away" – definitely provides more evidence that Gavin is far from a one-note Hardkiss.

      That's not to say familiar themes aren't revisited. Indeed, the entire vibe of Love Won Another is thick with the stoned-out, everything's-cool-man optimism that instantly correlates "Hardkiss" with "San Francisco." Melodic and uplifting, but suffused with enough weirdness and warmth, Love Won Another is definitely nostalgic, if only for the unlimited possibilities this type of music used to evoke.


Love Won Another

(Eighth Dimension)


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