Victor Hawkins-Sulfa’s album debut, ‘Hawkins The Album’ is a euphoric collection of tracks that together stylise his unique blend of soul, RnB and pop into a stirring, album that makes for easy listening.
A former contestant on NZ Idol, back in 2006, Hawkins (the artist) has clearly honed his musical craft ahead of delivering this self-funded album. Each track has a personalised sound, utilising layered vocals and instrumentals to deliver a unique experience that will take the listener through a rollercoaster of emotions across the dozen tracks.
The sound quality is top-notch, with Hawkins’ obvious attention to detail and care given to this evident passion project being on full display. The mood shifts constantly, with tracks like I Couldn’t Tell It All and Rumors sharing a melancholy that evokes in the listener emotions of consideration, hopefulness and resignation.
Hawkins’s vocals at times are raw and cut-throat, grabbing your attention as he enunciates every lyric with clear precision. Other times, with songs including Streetlights, his vocals are smooth and easily whisk you away into the illusion he paints. Speaking of which, Hawkins’s creativity is also visualised through 12 unique artworks that serve for each track on the album and come together as a collage to make the album cover.
Can’t Leave It Alone most strongly reinforces the sense that Prince is a strong artistic influence, but the standout track to me is Lost One, which in Hawkins’ own words is a homage to motown and northern soul. His own strong warm vocals, backed with those from a mix of musicians including La Coco, and a snazzy funk instrumental backdrop from the band, all intertwine together, nailing the groove as he described. Now that I have had Hawkins placed on my radar and can’t wait to hear what he produces next.