- Audio CD (7 May 2012)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: Parlophone
- ASIN: B007ITJGGK
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,577 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Standing At the Sky's Edge CD
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Following the success of his award-winning, hugely acclaimed 2009 album ‘Truelove’s Gutter’, Richard Hawley will release his sixth studio album, ‘Standing At The Sky’s Edge’ on 7th May.
Recorded at Sheffield’s Yellow Arch Studio in 2011, ‘Standing At The Sky’s Edge’ marks a seismic shift in direction for Hawley. The album is a euphoric, sonic assault on the senses, channelling elements of psychedelia, space rock and ragas with heavy riffs and raw, visceral guitar solos – as well as more familiar, tender moments – which will surprise Hawley’s fans and peers alike.
Exploring lyrical themes of love, loss, redemption and darker areas of the human condition, it’s an album of ominous storytelling and cosmic exploration, sung in Hawley’s rich baritone and soundtracked by an epic musical journey in glorious, menacing Technicolor. In the tradition of Hawley’s previous albums, the title is inspired by an area of Sheffield.
Hawley says of the album, “I wanted to get away from the orchestration of my previous records and make a live album with two guitars, bass, drums and rocket noises!”
'Standing At The Sky's Edge' is set to establish Hawley as one of the UK's greatest, contemporary guitarists.
“…And this one’s for all the men in the house…” After a decade of seducing career couples with the Roy Orbison stylings of several critically acclaimed and, latterly, commercially successful albums, Sheffield’s most unlikely pop star is back, and this time he’s rocking out. It shouldn’t be a shock: Hawley started out in indie band the Longpigs, has worked with Pulp and Robbie Williams, and even contributed the guitar solo to All Saints’ version of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Under the Bridge. But to those accustomed to 2009’s Truelove’s Gutter, it may be a little bit unexpected.
Standing at the Sky’s Edge is the sound of Hawley cutting loose, and clearly enjoying it. He breaks us in gently: She Brings the Sunlight opens with understated sitars and strings before launching into a lumbering assault of distortion and Eastern-tinged drones. Its solos might inspire bouts of air guitar from older members of his audience, but Hawley’s hardly guilty of overindulgence, even when the opening lines of the record’s title-track strangely recall Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive. Such eccentricities are fortunately balanced well by his trademark old-school reverb, a steadily growing wall of guitars, and a pace that matches the desolate subject matter: the tale of three doomed individuals with strangely biblical names (Mary, Joseph and Jacob).
Elsewhere he works up a sweat on Down in the Woods, which reduces rock‘n’roll – a subject in which Hawley is well versed – down to its simplest elements much as Spiritualized have done, though at a pace they rarely reach. Recent single Leave Your Body Behind You, meanwhile, is both a meditation on the transitory nature of human life and an almost celebratory plea to adopt the spirit of carpe diem, toning down some of the album’s more psychedelic tendencies in favour of the uplifting sounds of an adult choir.
But Seek It’s tenderness will be familiar to long-term fans, The Wood Collier’s Grave is a moody exercise in mournful nostalgia, and Don’t Stare at the Sun offers one of the most memorable melodies he’s written so far. He saves the best until last, however: Before begins with another three minutes of dreamy introspection before Hawley’s guitars win out once more, securing his status as guitar hero before slipping back into one last passage of shimmering, peaceful beauty. The men are going to love it. But the women will still love Richard Hawley, too…
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Top Customer Reviews
This is all a bit unexpected. Richard Hawley classic balladeer, aching lyricist and glorious singer songwriter becomes a space rock cadet? That at least is the interpretation of a number of music magazine reviews of this album thus far and it is partly why this reviewer for the first time approached a Hawley album with a distinct degree of trepidation. On the surface it all sounds faintly sacrilegious. Hawley is a man of humungous talent but inevitably when his name enters your head its the lush romanticism of a "Coles Corner", "Tonight the streets are ours" or "For your lover give some time" which spring to the forefront. In this setting his latest opus "Standing at the sky's edge" is a real departure but the good news is that it is a roaring success particularly if you are prepared to move on from his accumulated past glories and celebrate a much nosier and sonic orientated domain.
The declaration of intent comes on the monster seven minute opener "She brings the light" which starts sounding vaguely Eastern in a "Kashmir" kind of way until huge hammer chords pile in and Hawley's echoing vocals roll out over what sounds like a mix of sitars. It is like Stone Roses power chords at Spinal Tap volume eleven meets Cornershop and it works brilliantly largely because of underlying pop sensibility of Hawley's songwriting. Register in addition the blistering guitar solo at around four minutes might bring down the porcelain ducks off the wall. If you want to hear it you can download the track free from Amazon, bless them. The pace settles into a moody gallop on the deeply textured title track on which Hawley's atmospheric vocals are at their brilliant best. It has a nice psychedelic feel and really does power up over its near seven minute duration.Read more ›
'She Brings The Sunlight' is distorted guitars mixed with Hawley's distant vocals, a brilliant opener. The title track and 'Time Will Bring You Winter' are great drifting, catchy songs with some excellent hooks. While 'Down In The Woods' is fast paced psychedelica sounding like Ride at their most bombastic. Both 'Seek It' and 'Don't Stare At The Sun' are superb slower, more reflective tracks as is the short 'The Wood Collier's Grave'. Single 'Leave Your Body Behind You' is simply excellent, with a great beat and powerful vocals. 'Before' is a brilliant closer, building beautifully and exploding into noise along the way.
So Richard Hawley has evolved and created a new sound which is captivating and exciting. Certainly one of the best albums of the past year and deserves all the praise it gets.
But overall I like the bombastic, even Hendrix style guitar on some tracks.
Track 8 'You leave your body behind you', is in my mind written for Morrissey to cover, and I would love to hear that as the track just fits his current style, let alone see him perform it with Hawley on guitar, or am I just fantasizing?
Luckily a friend insisted I hear the album, and I started playing it in my car. Fortunately, I played it loud, and then I got it! You can't really appreciate this album quietly. It has to be played full throttle. I felt stoned listening to it, carried away by its sonic transcendency. It would be great played live or even over the PA at a festival.
This album really is the finest British psychedelic album since Kula Shaker's K. Yes, that band have been dismissed by critics since, but their first album was in my opinion one of the finest English psychedelic rock albums released in the last twenty years. It had similar Harrisonesque elements, modal sitarish drones and other worldliness lyrics.
Hawley is a genius, and has continued in the great British psychedelic tradition with Standing.. There are a few quieter tracks later in the album, but avoid this if you no longer like loud guitar rock. Definitely investigate, however, if you still have room in your heart for this genre but done really intelligently. Nothing like Oasis really.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've been listening to this for a while now and it's still growing on me to the point now where it's one of my all-time favourite CDs. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ian Macpherson
Great album - maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but I love it. Every trackPublished 1 month ago by Andylainen
Sky Edge will always have a deeper meaning for me - thank you Mr. Hawley you really are the bestPublished 3 months ago by Bill Sowerbutts