The choice of music at significant moments in our lives is vitally important. Consider the first dance at your wedding should you choose to proclaim to the world your feelings – is that the sound of Frank Wilson’s “Do I love You” making another appearance? Consider, if you will the final choice at the funeral of a character who enjoyed a laugh, as the curtains part to the familiar conversational opening to “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”…
All conversations recently have us looking back over the last six months and reflecting on a significant “moment” in all our lives. Jonny Melodic has taken this moment in our history to musically narrate all that we have been subjected to – all without any attendant clichés. And his album Hawks and Doves,if you will graciously accept the cliché, is worth more than a “pig in a poke.”
Poke your overly sanitized digit at the play button and the opening track Covid-19 (19 as the virus was discovered in 2019) hypnotically infects the soundscape with electronic notes and like the virus itself slowly, ever so slowly, takes over. At the time, in late February 2020, nobody spoke openly about corona virus – consequently, the track is an instrumental – as we were consciously unaware of the seriousness of the pandemic that had conspicuously swept across Europe and the rest of the world…with sobering consequences. The viral qualities of the first track trace the stark reality and you know Jonny Melodic has given much thought to the album and not least to the track listing order: inspired.
More than simply listing words much thought has been given to the lyrics throughout the album: “This is the new normal so you had better get used to it.” A pithy lyric, from the fourth track – The New Normal – that captures the weary realisation of the new every day for all of us and the blunt phrasing reflects our collective resignation. The repetitive and hypnotic backdrop of the same notes/beat echoed throughout; instil further the new mechanical status quo.
In the current period of political quid pro quo it certainly does feel like “us against them” is the pervasive mood. Left vs Right. Cops vs individual rights. For and against. Informed vs the ignorant. The title Hawks and Doves is a choice that indicates a true understanding of the political landscape and I guess those individuals who voluntarily choose to wear a mask versus those that refuse to don the mask is a trifle long for an album title. The title track as you would expect is urgent, questioning and desperate with a grating and distorted guitar hook that like the 24 hour news reels is unrelenting.
The exploration of the elusive truth via the news is equalled by the pop grandeur of “I Want to Know the Truth.” The glorious Human league-esque quality of the track shows JM’s true steel as the keyboards combine with his words to produce a clarion cry…”I want to know the truth.” Indeed I do…
Of course Hawks and Doves will never match the now mythical valuation of Frank Wilson’s musical legacy (£25,000 anyone?). Although, money from the sale of the album is being donated to the Mind charity who are determined to help those that have suffered under the pandemic and this gesture is priceless. Furthermore, looking on the bright side, for a musician and songwriter to have produced such a complete body of work in these conditions… Jonny Melodic has captured a moment and made his own piece of history in the process.
*Released online on many of the major digital download & streaming sites, such as iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, Napster, Youtube Music, bandcamp etc, etc.
By: The Swilgate Scuttler