Ever since Lauren Kinsella graced the stage at Triskel Christchurch on a sunny Saturday afternoon with Thought Fox during the Cork Jazz Festival a few years ago, we have been impressed with the band’s joie de vivre. In particular, Kinsella’s crystal-clear delivery stood out and the Dublin singer seems blessed with an inventive curiosity and imagination.
&Yes the name, Blue-eyed Hawk is veering toward the arty; but, to paraphrase Mr Spock, it’s jazz music but not as you know it. If you’re into labels then art-rock would be OK, but you’ve got to factor in inspirational, highly original and throw in foot-tappingly fabulous for good measure.
In short, it’s a breath of fresh air, and Kinsella’s voice, while working her Bjork-like weirdish word-jazz alongside Laura Jurd’s delightful trumpet, is both absorbing and downright entertaining.
Standout tracks are the opening ‘Oyster Trails’, written by Kinsella and beautifully introduced amid a backdrop of electronic wizardry before the wonderful drumming of Corrie Dick paves the way for Kinsella’s lyrics. These have her wondering what legacy and impact we humans will leave on our planet.
It’s the perfect introduction to an album where the sounds are a diverse mix of jazz-punk fused with the more traditional ballad coupled with some glorious digital gizmos.
Also worth mentioning is the treatment of ‘Somewhere’ [Over the Rainbow], where we enter punk(ish) mode, and in a delivery not too far from the French/Benin singer Mina Agossi, Kinsella manages to kick little Dorothy to touch. So too is the wonderful Corrie Dick’s ‘Try To Turn Back’.
This debut from the Hawks is neither fish nor fowl and will not easily be categorised but that’s its brilliance: inspirational music drawing on a myriad of influences created by a bunch of extremely talented and musically articulate individuals.