THE TOMMYHAWKS Underground Raptor gets 7/10

The Tommyhawks
Underground Raptor


After a string of EP’s Perth alt-indie-rockers The Tommyhawks have released their debut album, Underground Raptor. Melding blues with fresh pop-rock jams, The Tommyhawks offer a revealing and deeply personal debut, while exploring themes of anxiety, paranoia and fear.

It opens with Fighting the Times, a wistful commentary on feminism and the current political climate in a post #MeToo world. Lyrically, it packs a punch: “Cos we’re always fighting the times, Cos the times always fighting us, Cos we are the women.” It’s a timely message, and a powerful choice to kick off the record.

The album takes a turn with Sugar, a light, spaced out track that’s consistent, but never seems to reach a needed energetic peak. Shame, however, is a polished, tight pop-rock tune, with a solid structure and gripping hooks. It’s a standout track that flows cohesively with a rich, slick chorus, only bolstered by singer Addison Axe’s striking vocal performance.

Critical is another shining moment on the album, comprising of sharp observations of judgment, jealousy and the impact of the online world. There’s a lot to like: a thumping bassline and fuzzy guitars and a punchy chorus, that evoke serious late 90s/ early 00s pop-rock vibes. Similarly, Potential is a glittery, summertime hit that’s unified and flows without a hitch.

Halfway through and The Tommyhawks have given us blues, garage-rock, grunge and pop, and though this might speak to their versatility, the arrangement of songs feels, at times, awkward and lacking a clear sense of direction.

While, Always Wanting More is lukewarm, Staying Home has some grit. The song has Axe singing about the ups and downs of mental health that’s sure to resonant with anyone who’s ever experienced depression or anxiety, with poignant lyrics like, “Will I ever be the same?”

The final track, Too Late is about heartbreak and longing, with a rhythm guitar reminiscent of The Smiths’ Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want. Axe’s vocals are loaded with emotion and, though bittersweet, the track wraps up the album nicely.

The Tommyhawks have made great strides on their debut, but not without a few missteps. It’s a unique fusion of social commentary and important themes, but overall the arrangement of songs lacks fluidity. While it feels like a compilation of songs more than a cohesive, nuanced album, there’s no doubt The Tommyhawks are a force, with unlimited range and ability. Underground Raptor is an intriguing taste of what’s to come.


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