Milk For Flowers

Mar 09, 2023
Web Exclusive

By Michael James Hall

Huw Evans’ immaculate work as H. Hawkline has been overlooked for far too long. Having created mesmeric, lysergic pop music for more than a decade, his talent for simple psychedelia, absurdly memorable and memorably absurd lo-fi folk should not be so treated. On his fifth album, Milk For Flowers, we have a set of songs favorably comparable to his previous finest hour, 2015’s In the Pink of Condition.

Following in the footsteps of other Welsh dealers in high strangeness such as Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, Super Furry Animals and ambling alongside John MOuse as well as frequent collaborator Sweet Baboo, Evans displays his knack for the melodious and insistent across “Plastic Man” and the title track which takes a simple piano part and builds a sad, sweet delicacy on its bones (“I feel like a man picking roses/And he never comes when he promises”).

Evans’ voice is a constant pleasure, a high, soft croon carefully enunciating the cryptic, the mystical, the mundane and the downright hilarious, sometimes simultaneously (“You ask me how I want to be remembered when I’m gone/Like a useful man, shaded by a shaky hand,” he declares on “Mostly” before the bittersweet chorus refrain of “I wanna die happy”). The arrangements, brilliantly handled by producer Cate LeBon, are often a Beach Boys delight, sometimes an electro swirl complemented by an acoustic strum as on “Suppression Street,” and on “I Need Him” a heavenly, countrified minimalism.

The fractured yet transcendent “Denver” is a touching highlight, while the dark disco of “Athens at Night” boasts a swagger that serves as a cool contrast to the more ethereal material. Stripped-down ballad “Like You Do” is a disarming, awe-struck love song that defies cliche and “It’s a Living”—with the wise lines “Old women and young children/Can teach you everything you need to know about living”—is a superb, poetical lament. Closer “Empty Room” leaves us on a cliff-edge of longing still grounded in the everyday (“Don’t go on holiday,” pleads Evans).

There are multitudinous joys to be found here—humor, sadness, and warm, true tenderness, all enveloped in the delicate velvet of strange and magical pop music. It’s time H. Hawkline received the due kudos and love for his wonderful work. (

Author rating: 8.5/10

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