ALBUM: Gregory and The Hawk – Leche
Gregory and The Hawk, it sounds like a children’s book does it not? Indeed, singer songwriter, Meredith Godreau, took the name from her brother, Gregory, and his imaginary childhood hawk in a George Eliot-esque move – wearing the mask of someone/something else to gain credibility and avoid being pigeonholed. In Godreau’s case it was to avoid getting lumped together with other “singer songwriters”, and move away from the po-faced, creativity void that that moniker suggests, however unfairly.
Regardless, it’s a lovely name, a feint so that when you actually press play the music is that much more disarming and disorientating. And from the spare, rhythmically diverse, instrumentation to the childlike vocals, disarming it is, and beautifully so. Indeed If Godreau is Gregory then her songs are manifestly the hawk, swooping down and attacking you from out of sight, but in a nice way. No blood, screeching and crying.
I think you can tell within the first few bars of hearing an artist that’s new to you, how much you’re going to like them. From the first notes of the delightfully melancholic acoustic number, ‘For the Best’, with Gregory’s elegiac intoning floating gently in, it becomes quickly and abundantly clear that I’m going to like this a lot.
From the oriental–style picking on ‘Landscapes’, to the subtle strings that sparsely insinuate themselves into the music, Leche moves on quickly, never settling on one theme or rhythm – a fact that reflects Meredith’s confession that travelling influenced much of the album. It is both strange and unsurprising, then, when we find that Godreau has travelled so far, that on ‘Puller Return’ she ends up in the eighties, referencing Cutting Crew’s ‘(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight’.
Simultaneously, the lo-fi production gives Leche a sense of intimacy. Godreau’s moving far and wide, but she wants to take you with her. So in the end, it is somewhat inappropriate that she wears “Gregory (and The Hawk)” as a mask, when everything else says “here I am”, someone quirky like Joanna Newsom, but not so eccentric. It’s to her credit that she holds all these contradictions together and turns it into something as stunning as this wonderful, sophomore album.