Hawk Hill – Para Lia (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Para Lia seems to make music that is like looking at a gemstone. Depending on how you hold it up to the light it reveals a range of different sonic colours, shifting and shimmering, many different things to each different person. The titular lead track of this musical triptych is a case in point. It would feel equally at home striding across an early naughties indie landscape, a darker post-punk place or on a hipster playlist of this week’s breaking bands. And in that way it seems to be exactly right for the modern mainstream pop picker and the nostalgic alt-rocker alike.

But this release is more than a one trick pony and Over It, though contagious in a rawer and rougher sort of way, could also do well in today’s marketplace being a melodic pop song at its core but dressed in more shade than light, being more bruised than bright but a beguiling set of sounds nonetheless.

On My Way Home wraps things up neatly, a slow and anthemic piece underpinned by brooding stings and bolstered by some gorgeously understated twin vocals that are all the more effective for sticking to the musical brief of the song rather than showing off. The two voices hint at bigger things but offer only a tantalising glimpse preferring to serve the song rather than the feed ego.

And that might be the key to the greatness and grandeur of the songs found here. They work because of their desire to get the job done rather than to play to the gallery. They are infectious rather than flashy, melodic rather than boisterous and all the more memorable for it. Understatement, you just can’t get enough of it, which is ironic really.

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