Most helpful critical review
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 17 May 2012
In an interview with Q magazine before it was released, Richard Hawley explained that he had to make this album while he still had 'a pulse', referring to two recent bereavements. I looked forward to hearing it when I heard he'd gone 'cosmic'. Though I love his earlier solo albums, I thought this would be interesting. Sadly, it didn't live up to expectations.
The first track begins with some raga violin, lifted straight from 1967, followed by huge slabs of fuzzy-edged guitar which drone their way through six minutes of lumbering rock. Meanwhile, Hawley's voice, one of his biggest assets, lies submerged beneath it all. It just sounds like a passage from an Oasis album. Cosmic? Not particularly. There are some bursts of searing guitar, but Hawley sounds as if he's holding something back rather than letting everything go. The backing harmonies for instance are clinically regimented. Listen to Mercury Rev's first album or some of the music coming out of Germany in the late 1960s and early 1970s, by the likes of Amon Duul II and Ashra Tempel, and you'll realise that as cosmic music goes this is peanuts.
'Cosmic', however, is not the be all and end all of music by any means. Great material, which Hawley usually provides, and imagination are important. The first three tracks, however, rely mostly on effects. In Hawley's defence, the album does improve as it progresses. 'Down In The Woods', in which Hawley assumes the role of a
modern John Clare, is an outstanding rocker, while the last few tracks depend less on effects and more on craft.
'Standing At The Sky's Edge' is a decent album, but sacrifices too many of Hawley's strengths to be regarded as part of the cream of 2012.