Masters of shoegaze, Low Flying Hawks, have returned with their third full-length release and final part of their musical trilogy centering on the ancient Greek myth of Sisyphos, King of Corinth. The story is of the trickster king who cheated death twice and was then punished by the gods to spend eternity pushing a massive rock up a hill. Every time he neared the top, the rock slipped and rolled back down for him to start the grueling process over again. This conclusion album titled Fuyu means “winter” in Japanese and centers on the ups and downs and struggle of life. It is an emotive and beautiful album that stands perfectly on its own while also acting as the last piece of the puzzle in the band’s five-year long project.
Fuyu opens with a quick, under two-minute drone track of static feedback, building anticipation. This flows perfectly into the following track which leads with a feedback screech before diving into shoegaze goodness. While that is the main genre of the album, stoner rock, post-metal, doom, and sludge are also incorporated. The guitars drive the album and founding/standing members of Low Flying Hawks EHA and AAL create so much power through their guitar and vocal contributions. Completing the band and providing a killer rhythm section is Dale Crover on drums and Trevor Dunn on bass. Guest musicians round out the lineup for Fuyu and include Martha Domínguez Henkel and Luis Sergio Hernández on violin, Luz del Carmen Pastor and Valentín Mirkov on cello, and opera singer Martha Domínguez Henkel. These added instruments enhance the emotional draw of the album as well as create a dream-like atmosphere. The album rises and falls perfectly corresponding with the theme of the trilogy. The quieter moments are beautiful and peaceful. Track “Midnight” is a perfect example of this as it slows everything down with a gentle guitar melody, quiet steady drumming, clean vocals, and string instruments. The result is an ethereal effect before heading into the title track which consists of drone-like vocals, rapid synths, and marching drums.
The final track, “Nightrider,” is the longest of the album spanning just over 13 minutes. It kicks off with doom gaze melodies and low vocals. The song continues in this fashion with some revving up with groovier guitar and vocals until about halfway through when things slow and a more atmospheric section is experienced. The album ends with some more drone like noise—calling back to the opener. I am a sucker for a good ending and this track definitely had me swooning.
Whatever you are going through or experiencing in your life at this moment in time, Fuyu will fit the vibe and ask you to look within and identify your struggles. It is a perfect soundtrack to help motivate or heal you. Now that the trilogy is complete, I am excited to see what project Low Flying Hawks embarks on next. I know that whatever direction they head towards, they will continue to put out amazing, emotive, dreamy music. For now, spin Fuyu, sit back and prepare to get introspective.