The Adrenaline – Garrison Hawk (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

The latest album from Garrison Hawk is nothing less than the sound of an artist returning to their roots. Although he has wandered far and wide musically, explored pop, rock and more dance orientated sounds and even working with Tricky on his iconic Blowback album, there is a confidence and groove found here which can only be explained by him finding his way back to his sonic home. A wise man once said, “I never saw my hometown until I went around the world.” Apply the same to music and it explains Hawk’s approach to The Adrenaline.

Plying his trade via Jamaican Dancehall and reggae-pop tunes, the album is heavy on the grooves and infectious in its beat. Party Time might kick things off in fairly traditional style but it is Garrison Hawk‘s ability to thread such sonic traditions through some quite cutting edge treatments which keep things so fresh. Dream of Life is a slick, reggaeton infusion, the laid back vibes of the islands being pushed into the future via forward-thinking, electronic and hip-hop vehicles.

Pretty Pussycat is a beguiling blend of groove and adventurousness, of reggae rhythms and darker dancehall moves, the music seemingly cut apart and reassembled to confound expectations and create new benchmarks and perhaps also give us a taste of where cutting edge artists like Garrison Hawk are steering such genres.

Beenie Man pops up on Gal Have Wants to add some deft and dexterous toasting to this high energy number and Love in Mi Heart (Can’t Tear We Apart) is a wonderfully glitchy and affected slice of electro-reggae futurism.

It’s an album that Garrison Hawk could only have made at this point in his career. He wandered the world, both sonic and geographically, explored other genres and styles, and grew wise in the ways of music-making. Only then was he ready to reconnect with his roots and appreciate his cultural sounds. And The Adrenaline is all the stronger and more evocative a record for him having done so.

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