Hawksley Workman Meat

Hawksley Workman Meat
The prolific Canadian songwriter reinvents himself yet again on his 11th studio album, further proving that he's not afraid of anything. On Meat, Workman drops the glossy production of previous albums in favour of a stripped down, garage rock-inspired sound. But the static-y drums on "Chocolate Mouth" and distorted vocals of "Depress My Hangover Sunday" don't detract from the power of these songs. In fact, the purposefully lo-fi production gives Meat a gritty feel that perfectly matches its often-gloomy lyrics. Meat isn't all grunge and anger though. The intimate "Song for Sarah Jane" is a surprising, and bold, album opener, and the pseudo-Elmo backup vocals of "Tokyo Bicycle" are infectiously cheerful. Workman also continues to experiment with electronic sounds, peppering the grooves of "You Don't Just Want to Break Me" and "The Ground We Stand On" with synths and drum samples. While Meat loses much of the whimsy of Workman's early work, it maintains the unfettered songwriting and vocal acrobatics that have always defined his sound. And if the grungy side of Hawksley Workman isn't your cup of tea, you can always wait a few months for the release of the digital singles from Workman's upcoming album, Milk, a synth-driven album of '80s-style pop songs. (Isadora/Universal)