Top positive review
61 people found this helpful
on 8 January 2007
The 2006 Mercury Music prize went to The Arctic Monkeys. On accepting the award, their spokesman said "someone call the police, Richard Hawley has been robbed". Now bearing in mind that Hawley is a fellow inhabitant of Sheffield ... forgive my ignorance people of Sheffield, but I haven't a clue what they call you... even so I made a mental note. Months before, Verity Sharp had interviewed Hawley on The Culture Show, and I liked what I heard,...well that's not entirely true... I just love Verity Sharp...and she loves Richard Hawley.
So I bought the album.
The morning it dropped on my doormat, I fired up the system, placed it in the CD tray, pressed play and sat back.
The world changed...into Technicolour. The strings that swelled from the speakers could have come from a big old Wurlitzer jukebox from the Fifties. I could have been sitting in an old boozer sipping brown ale in the days before lager was invented. It was uncanny. Hawley's influences are obvious, to my mind he is almost disturbingly like Roy Orbison, especially on track 3, Hotel Room which is achingly beautiful. Born Under a Bad Sign has echoes of Morrissey in his more vulnerable moments. The influences may be obvious, but Hawley's songs are sincere and intensely personal, this is no mere pastiche.
From the semi acoustic guitar, vintage brush drums, lush bass...nothing hurried...everything unfolding at it's own natural pace. We are on a nostalgia trip where strings swell and lap steel guitars swoon their love to a cold world. But strongest of all are Hawleys tentative gentle vocals, crooning, as if to a lover cuddled up close. Lush. Heartbreaking. Fabulous.