Top positive review
60 people found this helpful
For this album, give some time...
on 7 November 2009
I have to say that I was very surprised when I pressed play and found that Richard Hawley's latest was a heady mixture of Drum 'n' Bass, gangsta rap and speed metal.
I am, of course, joking. If you have heard "Coles Corner", "Lady's Bridge", or any of his earlier solo albums, then you will be fairly familiar with Hawley's style and will know pretty much what to expect from "Truelove's Gutter". However, what you possibly won't have been expecting is just how brilliant his new piece of work is. It is a further collection of beautiful, gentle, romantic songs in his timeless style. Like a contemporary Nat King Cole (only better), Richard Hawley has delivered an exceptional collection of emotionally-engaging, truly beautiful ballads which may, just, be the best of his career so far. This album is also a little more understated than his last, a tad more subtle - and it works all the better because of it.
At eight songs long, you may be forgiven for thinking that this could be a short album, but with three songs at over six minutes long, this still feels like a whole, complete long-player. Besides, if you're anything like me, you prefer quality over quantity and "Truelove's Gutter" has quality in abundance. The opening song, "As The Dawn Breaks" is an exquisite introduction to the album, tender and delicate. "Open Up The Door" is simply an amazing track, gorgeously romantic and impeccably augmented by the sweeping, swelling Red Skies string section. "Ashes On The Fire", a tale of heartbreak in a slow waltz time, is both beautiful and sad at the same time. "Remorse Code", with its very punny title, starts like gently acoustic version of Lennon's "Imagine" but, at just under ten minutes in length, develops into a beguiling extended instrumental with some genuinely wonderful guitar work.
"Don't Get Hung Up In Your Soul" is simple but effective, with Hawley's rich, expressive voice pulling quite a few emotional strings over an understated acoustic guitar, saw and zither. I really do appreciate that the more unusual instruments haven't been allowed to take over the song. Often artists and groups will make too much of a highlight of an instrument if it is perceived as unconventional, but Richard hasn't been caught in that particular trap. Perhaps the highlight of the album - and it really does have to be a very special track to stand out in this distinguished crowd - is "Soldier On". It starts and builds gently, showcasing a subtle guitar solo, but when it thrillingly explodes, resplendent with rippling cymbals, bold drumkit, throbbing electric guitar and heavenly strings... well, it truly is something quite magnificent. The penultimate song, "For Your Lover Give Some Time", is a real tear-jerker - sincere, emotional and absolutely beautiful. The album finishes on "Don't You Cry" (it could easily be an instruction for those trying to get through the previous song without welling up!) which is a ten minute piece of sheer loveliness.
This is an exceptional and flawless album. It is, arguably, the best of Richard Hawley's exemplary career and I can't recommend it highly enough.