Every Tuesday, Torontoist scours record store shelves in search of the city’s most notable new releases and brings you the best—or sometimes just the biggest—of what we’ve heard in Sound Advice.
You know what? Just give in to this. Hawksley Workman‘s latest album Milk is packed tight with shimmering synths and glossy guitars, its electro-pop sheen not so much a contrast to its garage-rock predecessor, Meat, as its unlikely, though intended, companion. It’s striking at first listen and is as playful and uninhibited as Workman has ever sounded.
Throughout his now decade-plus career, he’s verged at times on virtuoso and here and there on quirky irritant, and on Milk, Workman finds the elusive (even unimaginable) balance between the two. Teeming with his trademark sinfulness (the title itself is a euphemism for female sexuality), the speak-sing rapping on songs like “Who Do They Kiss?” (streaming above) and blatant rhyming scheme of “Warhol’s Portrait of Gretzky” await your cringe, but you’ll be disarmed by his obvious dual self-awareness/don’t-give-a-fuck-ness. Hiding underneath the cheap blips of “Some People,” where Workman is doing his best Buck 65, is a dense warble of bass-driven intensity, building into a chorus that’s as rich as anything on the album, and the cameo from Shad on the bridge turns into a bonafide deep-album gem just before the over-the-top, if not skilfully crafted, auto-tuned radio-jams at the end.
The sparkle will undoubtedly fade, but let yourself be surprised by Workman as he shines here; Milk is as bold as its creator, making a statement to the breadth of Workman’s character and artistic ability.