6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Truelove's Gutter (Audio CD)
Richard Hawley's 6th studio album is a more muted affair than Lady's Bridge, recalling tracks from Lowedges or Coles Corner such as 'The Ocean' or 'Hotel Room'. This low-key, downbeat mood flows through every song but is never overpowering - rather it gives a beautiful mellow feeling to the album which washes over the listener. This means that it works very much as an album to listen to in one sitting, rather than as individual songs.
It is a strong set of songs, similar in style to Scott Walker's earlier solo albums with Hawley's crooning, distinctive voice a highlight throughout, especially on album opener 'As the Dawn Breaks' and 'Ashes on the Fire'. The musical direction is slightly different on this album to previous; there is less reliance on strings (though they are still there), with Hawley instead choosing to experiment with lesser-known instruments, including a glass harmonica on several of the tracks (best example being 'Don't You Cry'), creating a haunting, mystical sound that is rarely heard in music.
Although there are only 8 tracks, this is not a short album. There are some epic tracks, particularly 'Remorse Code' (a track that deals with one of Hawley's favourite themes - the ocean) which provides a slight mood lift to the album with its excellent vocal and guitar performance. It nevers feels like a stretch listening to these songs though - they are not over-indulgent. The playing is fantastic with some fantastic guitar performances by Hawley, and strings, as well as other instruments, used to give lush instrumentation that is familiar on all of his albums. It is a dark album, lyrically as well as musically, perfect for autumn nights and rainy winter days. In my opinion it is one of his most consistent and strongest albums.