Hakan is an Italian garage-punk band in the vein of The Marked Men. Like, really in the vein of The Marked Men—MM’s Jeff Burke (also of Radioactivity) even recorded the record and it fits the aforementioned band’s style perfectly.
At thirteen songs in twenty-two minutes, Hakan’s II fits the expectation of short, fast and to-the-point. Meanwhile the guitars are hyper fast and never let up while the bass gives powerful depth and the percussion blasts away in perfect time. It really fits that Denton sound well but it succeeds by mixing up the sound between within the thirteen songs present.
I always find that Marked Men records blur together, one pop-fuelled blast of perfect melody after another. Hakan does a better job at making the individual tracks stand out. In part by switching singers on different tracks and, in part, by bouncing between melodic perfection and songs with a little more frontman punch.
“I Drank Way Too much Kupnik” has a bit of singer swagger that adds nicely to the rhythmic guitar through its depth in inflection. Meanwhile, there are shades of Burke’s work in “Dental Love” (a standout) and “Discomfort.” Then, in a track like “Real Dumb,” the song gets a little harder. It’s got a real garage-punk core with the emphasis of the songwriting on the repetitive chorus, but it’s got an inexplicable edge like a live Ramones set that takes it to another level.
On full disclosure, when I first read the description of this record I thought Jeff Burke played in the band. When I write reviews, I don’t re-read the sheet until several listens later and I was surprised to learn that he wasn’t more involved in the music itself after I’d given this a half-dozen spins. The Marked Men similarities are impossible to avoid. Fortunately, Hakan is really good so those namedrops don’t complicate the review.