Ron Hawkins – [Album]

Ron Hawkins – [Album]

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Artist: Ron Hawkins
Album: Spit, Sputter and Sparkle
Label: Pheromone
After twenty years of trying pretty much any and every permutation of rock which struck his fancy following the first break-up of The Lowest Of The Low in 1994 (projects which followed included designer knock-off stuff with the Leisure Demons, coffeehouse acoustic songwriting elsewhere on his own, bar-rocking with The Rusty Nails and Do-Good Assassins and more), hearing that Ron Hawkins has spontaneously come into his own again and produced an album which indubitably qualifies as a mature work is more exciting than one could possibly fathom. The singer’s new album, Spit, Sputter and Sparkle, plays precisely as every fan quietly hoped the guitarist would, eventually, in that it doesn’t attempt to recreate the magic of his first band but, rather, expand upon it.

From the moment “Beautiful Girl” starts turning the album’s engine over to warm it up, longtime Hawkins fans will know the difference between what they’re hearing here and (nearly) everything else the guitarist has done in the last fifteen years; it actually moves past the Lowest Of The Low, but does not abandon the ground that band originally broke. Here, the guitarist intentionally makes a concerted effort to temper the power of his guitar rather than lighten it up; the rhythm and tempo are tight and not over-sped and the tone is a spotless work before which Hawkins’ vocal appears. Because of that arrangement, there is no avoiding any part of the song and each presents as perfectly clear too – making lyrics like “Sleep in the crook of my arm/ Beautiful girl/ Dream through the fire alarms/ My beautiful girl” sparkle like gold or fine art. It’s perfect and perfect bait to hook a listener.

While “Sliver” stumbles a bit into old Low glories as it follows “Beautiful Girl” (the song shows that Hawkins can still write great Can-alt rock numbers when the mood strikes him, but that’s not the focus here), songs like “Chrome,” “Till It Kills Ya” and “Sweet Simple Life” put some more color into Hawkins’ new persona as the refined rock n’ roller here to grow with fans who lived through the crazy early years with him and need something they can call their own now which isn’t just nostalgic. It might sound a little simple in print, but it’s really cool – as anyone who hears Spit Sputter and Sparkle will happily concede. In listening, they’ll know that what they’re hearing is the voice who complained that life was a bitch for the eternal fatalist, now fifty-one years of age and wiser.

With that assertion and the success it’s intended to describe made, the obvious question turns to what listeners can possibly expect from Ron Hawkins now that he’s begun a new path with Spit, Sputter and Sparkle. Well, that’s the complicated bit; with announcements already made about other ventures with other bands coming on the horizon (more Lowest Of The Low dates have been announced and there’s a very real chance that there may be more work coming from Do-Good Assassins too), the question becomes whether or not Hawkins plans on properly promoting this release at all – or if it’s just something he needed to make. On one hand, listeners can just be glad they’re getting to hear this album (which is valid – the songs are great and the sonic shift behind them toward a more sort of “grown-up” demeanor is really compelling) but, on the other, it won’t take long for those fans who embrace Spit, Sputter and Sparkle to want to hear the music played live at least, and likely see another album which builds on this foundation too. That said, here’s hoping that Hawkins doesn’t take too long in further developing this beginning; it is great and strong and feels like it could have more great music spring from it for years.


Spit, Sputter and Sparkle is out now in Canada and will be available in the U.S. on April 1, 2016. Buy it here on Amazon.

Comments are closed.