This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
Hawksley Workman isn’t the first singer-songwriter to point out the thin line between love and hate. Or love and war. Or war and peace, for that matter.
But there are few artists who are able to tap-dance along the edges of those great divides with such a perfect mix of artful flamboyance and soul-searching honesty. Lover / Fighter, the third album from the ostentatious performer and composer, is both his most high-concept work — an examination of the essential duality of humanity — and his most accessible and revealing album. From the jarring first words of opener We Will Still Need A Song — “F—k you, you’re drunk” — the Hawk grabs you by the lapels, thrusts his tongue in your ear and drags you into his Lynchian landscape of liquor, lust, smoking and sordid sorrow. As always, his musical constructs — performed and produced mostly by himself — are lushly textured, passionately played, impeccably produced alt-rock and indie-pop. As always, the most compelling instrument is his voice, reminiscent of Bono’s soaring grandeur but blessed with more tragic melodrama and androgynous sensuality. And when he applies it to couplets like, “What Jesus can’t fix tonight / The whiskey certainly might,” what is not to love?