Ron Hawkins Straitjacket Love

Ron HawkinsStraitjacket Love
Rather than basking in the glory of the successful recent reunion of his seminal band, the Lowest of the Low, and the re-release of their meisterwerk, Shakespeare My Butt, Hawkins gets right back to (solo) work. Straitjacket Love appears just 18 months after his previous album, 10 Kinds Of Lonely. There's nothing radically different, just more songs featuring eloquent lyrics, always convincing vocals and enough diversity in tone and tempo to keep things interesting. Hawkins again produces and plays most of the instruments, but horns, violin, accordion and harmonica flesh out many of the songs. Most numbers explore the rollercoaster ride that is love, with the darker, more dramatic vibe of "Black" ("a train full of werewolves on a poisonous track") and "Kill The Lights" offset by the jauntier mood of "Prairie Girl," given a suitably rural feel by harmonica, mandolin and violin. There's a sly wink to LotL in "Corner Room" ("salesmen, cheats and swine, a man can be a sad excuse sometimes") and plenty of Hawkins' clever wordplay and evocative images throughout. This is another worthy addition to a discography now spanning 14 releases. (Independent)