With their first mixtape A Little More Elbow Room, this London trio formed themselves a solid foundation, carving their niche from cooled-out jazz loops and elegant, mellow wordplay. Their second album A Handshake To The Brain continues right where they left off, as Hawk House amplify everything that made their début so exciting.
Brothers Sam and Eman bat bars back and forth, combining with Demae’s airy, soulful harmonies on opener My Mind Is The Weapon, then display their highly-honed songwriting skills on Grow. The beats knock hard on Vulcan Grip‘s electronic shuffle; then meander wistfully for the sombre spoken word piece Her Anatomy; and as a relaxed narrative guides you throughout each of the brain’s cognitive functions, The Nervous System balances the left and right hemipheres with creative, yet detailed storytelling bars, finding their protagonist ‘under constant pressure from the bredrins’ as he recalls last night’s beef.
The title track’s concise rhymes breeze by on another hazy instrumental, before Demae’s sweet melodies inaugurate the short-lived boom-bap tones of Slow Down and Chill Pill ( Experiment 2 ) begins with superlative wordplay that’s worth the album’s asking price alone. Combining their underground rawness with a more polished sound; the clique seem to soar upwards as they meet their full potential on this stand-out tune, offering a perfectly-timed snapshot of their current creative zenith.
As the loose snares on Lights Off fade into the ether and this short, but promising record ends; it’s a sure shot that A Handshake For The Brain is just another well-placed step, as Hawk House confidently tread their own path towards the success they deserve.
Buy it from itunes here.