A Hawk and a Hacksaw make Eastern European folk music for people who don’t like Eastern European folk music. To fans, that might seem contentious, because you could say the same sort of thing about Mumford & Sons. But whereas Mumford & Sons make inauthentic, bastardised folk for people who’ve never heard real folk music in their lives, A Hawk And A Hacksaw are divorced from the rest of their genre in a different, more respectable way. The reason for that is the same as the reason they’re the only Eastern European folk act that gets routinely covered on sites like this one.
Let’s not forget, band-founder Jeremy Barnes was the drummer in most people’s go-to cult indie band, Neutral Milk Hotel. He started A Hawk And A Hacksaw in 2001, inviting violinist Heather Trost to play with him in 2005, and as well as making their own music they played with Zach Condon’s Beirut – every indie kid’s go-to Balkan pop group – on his first album Gulag Orkestar. So when we say that A Hawk And A Hacksaw make Eastern European folk music for people who don’t like Eastern European folk music, it’s not because they don’t do it properly. Rather, it’s because their fanbase is made up more of indie kids than it is of continental folk connoisseurs: you only really get into A Hawk and a Hacksaw because you like Neutral Milk Hotel and Beirut.
For Americans though, Barnes and Trost make their music with an unfathomable authenticity. If Gogol Bordello are the Goldie Lookin’ Chain of Eastern European folk, A Hawk and a Hacksaw are its Public Enemy, and You Have Already Gone To the Other Wold is their most legitimate love-letter to the region’s music yet. Years from now, it could well be looked back on as their masterpiece. 9/10
Read more at http://drownedinsound.com/releases/17570/reviews/4146278
A Hawk and a Hacksaw play at The Adelphi on Thursday 26th April
Advance tickets can be purchased from hullboxoffice
Don’t miss this. Doors 8.00pm
with support from Hull’s Mambo Jambo