New Music: Senior Citizen’s ‘The Hawk’

If you haven’t already checked out Senior Citizen’s debut album The Hawk in all of its synthy, sultry glory, the collaborative project, which features contributions from more than 11 musicians, is a must-have for electronic and can-con fans alike.

New Brunswick producer and percussionist Bob Deveau is hardly new to the Atlantic Canadian music scene. Best known as the drummer of Grand Theft Bus, Deveau has also been a member of Olympic Symphonium, Snailhouse, and Share.

Senior Citizen, Deveau’s foray into electronic music, has been building up to the release of The Hawk for seven years. Deveau explains that, “The Senior Citizen moniker is essentially just the title of the collective. It isn’t really just me. But it isn’t really any select group of people either. It is an ever-changing creative cooperative.”

The Hawk began in 2009 as drum tracks recorded while Deveau stayed at his parents’ barn in Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia. From there, Deveau says he “sent out 10 foundations for tunes to a bunch of different people” and “let them choose which tracks suited their fancy.” Deveau didn’t want to direct or influence the creativity of the vocalists and musicians who were sent tracks, but rather, wanted the collaborators to come up with contributions to the tracks organically.

“I honestly wasn’t really expecting to get much back. I was pretty shocked and thrilled that I received material for every song, which led my ideas to evolve further.”

In terms of influences for The Hawk, Deveau recalls that back in 2009 when the album was in its earliest stage of development that “I was pretty isolated in Cape Breton and wasn’t playing much other than by myself,” adding that he listened “to a lot of electronic music at the time, from Tortoise to The Knife to Underworld.” As for The Hawk, Deveau “really wanted to have a hybrid of lo-fi live band feeling production mixed with very high-fi dance music aesthetic.”

If anything can be said about The Hawk, it is that the album is dynamic. Songs transform fluidly, often moving through three of four ‘acts’ rather than remaining confined to one or two rhythms in a sort of musical storytelling that is both complex and controlled.

Playing with its listeners’ emotions, The Hawk fuses an array of electronic dance tracks with moody lyrics that will make you want to text your ex, Drake style.

Some songs on the album ache with melancholy. With hypnotic beats and eerie lovelorn lyrics “You’ve been watching, you’ve been waiting”, “Better Off Alone,” features the dulcet vocals of Andrew Sisk from Montreal’s Coco et Co. and starts The Hawk out strong as the first track on the album.

“Footprints” is a rolling drum track that features the deep, soulful crooning of Nick Cobham, progressing to include bass and harmonies that encompass a Canadian gothic vibe that is the darkest of the album’s singles.

Erin Breau’s seductive voice on “So Close” is reminiscent of Metric’s Emily Haines, the song a plethora of romantic and upbeat synth beats that settle down into a grungier sound.

Outside of the July 2nd show at the Capital Complex in Fredericton, Deveau doesn’t intend to tour with the project unless it gets a lot of attention. “One show to celebrate the release of the production seems to make it special,” states Deveau, elaborating that a tour was never really the point of releasing The Hawk.

While you may not be able to catch Senior Citizen live, there is good news for fans. “I feel like this format will continue forever now,” says Deveau, “I love the idea of just coming up with ideas and sending them out to hear how others are moved to create. I have 20 or so new drum tracks that I have started to work on for phase two of this project.” Deveau hopes to involve all of those who participated in the creation of The Hawk on a second album, potentially recruiting a “whole new cast of players as well.”

Senior Citizen’s The Hawk is available for purchase online from Backward Music.