REVIEW: Doug Hawk shows strength on funky 'Songs for Humans'

  (Courtesy Image)

(Courtesy Image)

Good things, as the saying goes, come to those who wait. 

Luckily, the time it took for a window to open for me properly to soak up Doug Hawk's new album Songs for Humans was well worth it.

On the opening number, "Teach Me," the Easton resident provides an education in up-tempo, Stevie Wonder-esque funk. The song features an attention-grabbing horn line that accentuates an already smooth tune, while setting the tone for the rest of the album.

On the lead single "The Truth is Just a Lie," Hawk stays in his wheelhouse but slows down the tempo without losing his melodic touch. 

Hawk follows it up by lightly treading out of his comfort zone on "Heroes?", earning points for execution. However, the song does not have quite the same punch as when Hawk locks into a mellower groove, allowing the music to breathe and his vocals to shine (which he does rather well on "Fortunata").

"Fortunata" also showcases the talent of guitarist Aurelien Budynek. The crescendo build-up to Budynek's searing guitar solo makes "Fortunata" the album's standout track.

While mid-tempo R&B is Hawk's strength, he proudly displays bold traces of jazz, most notably on "In the Dark." Anchored by a staccato guitar riff (again, courtesy of Budynek), Hawk stretches his voice as he sings, "Feel the burn from the flame, and try to learn from the pain."

The eight songs that make up Songs for Humans captures Hawk at his best, both vocally and musically. Lyrically, Hawk does not shy away from speaking his mind, taking aim at government corruption and economic hypocrisy ("Whatever Happened to Kings?", "Gov't Cheez").  

Songs for Humans is a strong collection of music for any primate who enjoys a tight groove.