Richard Hawley Trueloves Gutter

Next week, Richard Hawley releases his sixth album, Trueloves Gutter The Guardian (along with some dudes called we7, no not bothering with that one either) allowed an exclusive streaming of the album, I’ve been looking forward to this one since the distinctly underwhelming (for me) Lady’s Bridge, and from the sounds of it, a bold, distinctive album is about to released into the world.There are many things I like about Hawley’s music, his gorgeous baritone with those hints of Scott Walker the echoey Spector esque production that envelopes each album and the commitment to BIG music, sorry to sound so retro but it’s rare you see it so celebrated and so precise (Maybe Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, but…). With that in mind the songs that have always resonated with me are the ballads, the lushly orchestrated ‘Coles Corner’, the shimmering ‘Something Is’ and the rolling orchestral thunder of ‘The Ocean’ so I’m glad to say that this album avoids the rockabilly retreads that punctuated the last few albums to go straight for the big Scott Walker productions. Hawley’s cracking guitar solos are still present and correct, just slowed down to a whine (especially on the huge Soldier On) to perfectly reflect the rather melancholy flavour of the album.

The opening track ‘As The Dawn Breaks’ has more than a little Skip Spence’s Oar about it, from the weird instrumentation and the low rolling sounds they usher in, to the long drawn out vocal. It’s an unexpected but fitting beginning for the album. Over the course of the album, the vocals are as clear as ever, less ‘deep’ more longing, softer and spacial, it fits an album that’s listening experience is as wide as an ocean yet stunningly intimate.

The cracking Walker like ‘For Your Lover Give Some Time’ is where Hawley’s lyrics shine,  (‘To all the cinemas we ran into from the rain’) it’s a Northern Kitchen Sink drama with a beautiful string quartet backing track, the juxtapositions are spot on. The only one that really didn’t do it for me was ‘Don’t Get Hung Up On Your Soul’ it’s barely there enough to register and for me breaks the mood up too much and feels unfinished, but this is quibbling. I’m sure there will be a few people who might not go with what Hawley has done here, and wish a return to the more jubilant refrains of Lady’s Bridge or Lowedges, but I applaud the risk taking, this is the work of a true artist, this should be amazing on tour.

01 As the Dawn Breaks
02 Open Up the Door
03 Ashes on the Fire
04 Remorse Code
05 Don’t Get Hung Up in Your Soul
06 Soldier On
07 For Your Lover, Give Some Time
08 Don’t You Cry

Trueloves Gutter is released on 21st September

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