Tommy Hawkins Amy

Tommy Hawkins Amy
7
A collaboration from Toronto singer/songwriters Hawksley Workman and Thomas D'Arcy, Tommy Hawkins' Amy sounds like an excellent first draft of a project that could be transcendently excellent. When experienced solo songwriters collaborate and make themselves stretch to meet the other, you do often get a whole that's greater, etc. That this is happening is evident from the first moments of Amy, when D'Arcy's vocals are thrown into his upper register, making him sound entirely different from the power-pop wunderkind he was in his teens, or any persona he's sported since. Workman's' guitar pops out of the beat like it's fighting containment. There seems to be an electric creative tension between the two.
 
And yet, it's not quite there yet. All the songs on Amy are good, some very good, but they have a quirky-teen-romcom-soundtrack thing going on; they sound brilliant as background music, but listening close there's not a lot of apparent substance.  The songs are full of perfectly clever couplets and conceits ("And you're wishing you could turn off all your instincts/Listen to you heart and hear what it thinks," for a typical example,) but it sounds too much like a songwriting exercise. One wants to send D'Arcy and Workman back to the studio, saying, "Okay boys, but now put something real into it. Or at least fake it convincingly." (TDM/Fontana North)