EP Review: Hawk Björn – Illumination
Step into the heartfelt world of Hawk Björn's latest release, "Illumination." This EP is Hawk's way of sharing warmth and hope during a tough battle with cancer. Created in The Shed, North Vancouver, and polished by Winston Hauschild on Bowen Island and Andy Kravitz in Venice Beach, the tracks on this record hold an unmistakable sincerity. Hawk's music, a blend of pop melodies, earnest lyrics and beautifully stripped-down production, is a personal journey that manages to resonate universally.

The EP's opening track is called "There Are Days Like These". The song's dreamy harmony, raw vocal delivery with gentle falsetto infusions and especially its starry-eyed guitar solo instantly bring to mind George Harrison. The lyrics are hopeful and comforting, and the pleasantly relaxed production highlights this attitude.

"Time to Go Home" is as bittersweet as the best tracks in Bee Gees' catalogue. And the song's rich backing vocals and 70s-tinged harmonic turns also bring to mind the band's golden classics.

The arrangement of "I Will Rally But Not Today" is coloured somewhat differently, bringing in cold synth and drum machine sounds in the intro and middle parts, only to add the familiar warm guitars and pianos in the chorus. This time the composition treads the territory of "Traveling Wilburys"' songs with Roy Orbison on the lead singer role.

"In My Darkest Hour" is the most hopeful and touching song on the record. The mallet and percussion sounds are lulling and the vocals are passionate and vulnerable.

Overall, the EP feels like a letter from a long-forgotten friend that has always been there for you. Its melodies evoke the most sincere feelings and reach the same emotional effects as many classic songs from the 70s and 80s.