‘How Will I Know If Heaven Will Find Me?’, the long-awaited third album from The Amazons, is finally here. It comes just days after I met them at their intimate acoustic set at Jumbo Records, which created no end of enhanced excitement for this first-spin moment.
Today, the band very sweetly and respectfully addressed their promoting of the album while the country is in a formal mourning period following the Queen’s passing. And while it’s an unprecedented time, ultimately, I’m one of the people they mentioned in their video that they hoped would still feel the urge to share their music…
When people talk about je ne sais quoi, there really is something about The Amazons, fundamentally, that just grips me. They have a uniquely distinct sound but tonnes of charisma and character, which is what every outfit strives for but doesn’t necessarily possess naturally.
I remember during my second time of seeing them, when they supported Royal Blood back in April, thinking just how fantastic they are, and how they summarise exactly what draws me to this industry and all it stands for. So, yes, ‘HWIKIHWFM?’ might serve much gentler, softer rock than most of their back catalogue, but you can completely glean why they claimed at Jumbo that this is their best body of work yet. Throughout, the tempo and mood jolt from slow and mellow to harder-hitting anthems, in individually-wrapped, emotionally-stirring bids to hook all ears. And I salute that.
The almost heroic, balladic chords of ‘How Will I Know?’ open up proceedings. This is an offering we’re all very used to, and its familiarity almost acts as a comforting needle dropping warmly onto vinyl.
There’s still something so chemically balanced for me about ‘Bloodrush’, their opening gambit of 2022; I think I heard it at a time when I was in sync with what it represented sonically. And it’s the same with the sophomore song of their pre-release campaign, ‘Ready For Something’, which lyrically deposits some stark reminders that you really should just seize the day. But one leaf through the lyric sheets and it’s easy to detect how simple yet on-point their targeted words are as the songs go by. It’s just poetry at the root, of course.
Getting into the unreleased tunes, ‘Wait For Me’ is the clear banger. It’s punchy, pacy and follows a punk-style beat that’s very drums-first in its game plan. You’ll also identify some classic ‘Zons shredding towards the latter half of ‘One By One’.
Frontman Matt Thomson uttered himself that ‘Northern Star’, one of the more sobering pieces, was among his favourites. It traverses themes of leaning socially on people and navigating the world around us with others in tandem; we’re not meant to do everything alone.
Music is very much an audible transmission of feelings and impulses, and ‘HWIKIHWFM?’ is an obviously reflective collection that plays on the version of you that’s seeking an extended hand. It masterfully hones in on the most melancholic of moods, plucking at your wistfulness, if you’ll let it. And it makes you take stock of what’s come before and what’s right here, in this present moment, too. Instead of bringing out your inner head-banger that just fancies cutting loose — which their huge OG tracks (and some of my favourites) such as ‘Little Something’, ‘Black Magic’ and ‘Mother’ did — it lights a flickering candle.
I’d go as far as positioning this album as a slightly new direction for The Amazons, and you can bet I’ll be on that journey with them. The bags are packed.
If you only download one track, let it be: ‘Wait For Me’