Fireworks

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A sensational debut.

This album has been a long time in the making, as husband and wife Jason and Nicole Hawkins decided that the only way to do it justice was to build their own recording studio, so that's exactly what they did. Jason Hawkins (an acoustic designer, builder & qualified audio engineer) and Nicole Hawkins (a qualified graphic designer, illustrator & photographer) spent over seven years building their own commercial quality recording studio. They also started their own record label, Rock Hawk Records, and in their newly finished studio the next two years were spent recording and producing this debut album. Their aim was to produce a catchy, hook-laden, chorus-orientated album that, in the tradition of the Classic Rock albums of the seventies and eighties, was a pleasure to listen to from start to finish. They have achieved the latter in spades, and despite being an album that definitely fits the Rock genre, I believe it's commercial enough to cross over into the mainstream.

The band is naturally based around the excellent vocals of Nicole Hawkins, and although she contributes guitar (and writes all the songs) this is far from a one-woman show – husband Jason Hawkins (Taxiride touring guitarist) handles lead guitars, his brother Mark Hawkins is on drums, Jerome Smith on bass, and Chris Lugton on keyboards and rhythm guitar make up the rest of this very tight band. There is great depth here, and some interesting subject matter within the songs.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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The album kicks off with the Halestorm-like 'All Or Nothing'. The title track, with its spoken commentary (similar to Def Leppard's 'Gods Of War'), and the gloriously catchy 'Scar By Scar' exhibit the band's social conscience. The modern, Alternative Rock of 'Take Back Your Words' includes a piano intro, thumping bass and even a horn section. 'All I Planned (Catch Me If You Can)' is pure Romeo's Daughter, whilst 'Beneath The Surface' and the evocative 'Truth Of A Lie' are the excellent output that you would normally reserve for the likes of Pat Benatar and Neil Geraldo. 'Domino' is an emotive ballad, and 'Grey Skies' is yet another song that captivates. The final song on the album, and my personal favourite is the riff-tastic 'Come Fighting', which could easily have been on the last Nubian Rose album.

This sensational debut sits nicely alongside other Female-Fronted Rock acts such as Halestorm, NR, RD and Benatar.

Mark Donnelly

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