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Albums Of The Week: Ron Hawkins | Trash Talkin’ At The Speed Of Sound EP

The Can-rock mainstay enlists Devon Lougheed for a sonically ambitious six-tracker.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Long-revered as one of Canada’s great contemporary singer-songwriters, Ron Hawkins is probably best known for his work as principal songwriter and lead vocalist for legendary Canadian band Lowest Of The Low — but he’s also established a prolific and powerful presence outside the band, releasing another dozen albums and EPs as a solo artist and with the groups Rusty Nails and Do Good Assassins.

Trash Talkin’ At The Speed Of Sound, his upcoming six-song set, showcases the widest sonic array of anything in the singer, multi-instrumentalist, and accomplished visual artist’s back catalogue, seamlessly incorporating electronic elements like vintage synths and drum machines with an ambitious production style. While it’s technically a “solo” album, the EP features “production” from the multi-talented Devon Lougheed (Skye Wallace, Hey Ocean!). The quotations above owe to the blurred lines between creator and curator as Hawkins and Lougheed navigated through the record-making process.

“What brought us together, and I think what made this collaboration so rewarding, is that we’re both willing to try anything with a big grin on our faces until we’ve exhausted every option,” enthuses Hawkins. “My style is very much about quick combustion — fast, directly to the point — whereas Devon is a master of dynamics. I’d send over demos from my home studio that went in all kinds of directions, and then he really guided them towards the finish line. It was funny when the label asked us to break down who played which instruments and parts, and we really had no idea in the end.”

The result is like a dark short film pressed on vinyl, unlike anything else we’ve heard from the notably prolific Hawkins but at the same time, unmistakably him.

The common thread woven through all Hawkins’ work is a bold and brazen approach to songwriting — unrepentantly potent poetry anchored by simple-but-substantial melodies comprising some combination of indie, folk, and punk rock. Such is the case with Trash Talkin’ At The Speed Of Sound. But while it carries Hawkins’ now signature take on the “three-chords-and-the-truth” ethos, it also circumvents its inherent musical confinements.

The first single from the EP is the dizzying, danceable Church Of The Chemical DJ. Says Hawkins about the track: “Church Of The Chemical DJ is a song about the ways in which we sedate ourselves against the monsters under the bed. Uptight satellite soldier boys living in a, ‘Wonderland of the free… coma of the brave’.

Back by popular demand, Hugh Christopher Brown, Hawkins and Stephen Stanley are dusting off their road cases and fueling up the van for another adventure through two countries and three musical catalogues.”


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