Hawksley Workman Lover/Fighter (Universal) Rating: NN Rating: NN
Hawksley Workman might have been accused of many things in the past, but churning out anonymous background music was never one of them. Somewhere along the country lane from underground sensation to glammy pop star, Workman lost his way. After the middling follow-up to his remarkably original debut, Lover/Fighter's overproduced, self-consciously grandstanding pop songs fall even flatter. Workman is still capable of smart turns of phrase and a clever way of getting to the hook, but where he once was inventive, here he just sounds desperate. Tucked away in his Huntsville schoolhouse, playing all the instruments himself, he probably thought his hiphop turn in Smoke Baby seemed like a brilliant idea. It wasn't.
Hawksley Workman & the Wolves play the Phoenix October 1.