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Album Review

Canadian duo Hawaii move through a handful of styles on their self-titled debut for Paper Bag, playing their dusky trips through the dream pop wires off rustic, atmospheric indie rock, and building a dynamic between the hushed vocals of Sam Goldberg and Samantha Terry's Hope Sandoval-ish breathlessness. And while it doesn't work all the time, there's plenty to recommend. Opener "Shooting Star" is a little bit a of a nonstarter; its Milky Way lilt and layered guitars are nice, but not memorable. However, "Sleeping In" is really strong, with Terry's beguiling delivery echoing between rangy acoustic guitars. "Break You" utilizes that simplistically cool touch Luna did so well (and even suggests the melody of the Troggs' "Love Is All Around"), while "On a Train" reaches back to the trippy reverb and basslines of the Stone Roses, crossing its loopy groove with fluttering sheets of electric guitar noise. There are moments of filler on Hawaii, where the meticulously layered production seems to overtake the song ("Beautiful Storm," for example). But for the most part, Hawaii finds its own voice inside its influences. Their debut is another promising release from Paper Bag, the Toronto imprint responsible for Broken Social Scene and Stars.


Formed: 2000 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Comprising Eddie Day (vocals), Marty Friedman (guitar), Tom Azcredo (guitar), Joe Galisha (bass) and Jeff Graves (drums), Hawaii were one in a sequence of bands to highlight the virtuoso guitar capabilities of Friedman. After the collapse of Deuce, Vixen (not the all-female quartet) and Aloha, Friedman formed Hawaii in the early 80s. Three albums emerged for a succession of labels, none quite capturing his true abilities. The Natives Are Restless was probably the best example of an uneven...
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Hawaii, Hawaii
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