Standing at the Sky’s Edge
Sep 03, 2012 Issue #42 - The Protest Issue
Few artists this year are likely to take the artistic leap that Richard Hawley does with his latest album. Hawley is beloved in his hometown of Sheffield, England for naming albums after actual city locales, and over the past few years his work has been meditative, with strings showing up on songs as often as his acoustic guitar. By comparison, some longtime fans may feel moved to lovingly tag this collection Diving Head First off the Sky's Edge.
This is a full-on rock album offering horizon-burning electric guitar as its signature, with Hawley's band stretching out with him on a few tracks for some fabulously psych-fried passages. Imagine Oasis setting the controls for the heart of the sun rather than Liverpool. At the center, Hawley remains the same steady presence as always, with his low-register vocals and earnest lyrical concerns, and tracks like "Seek It" and "Don't Stare at the Sun" dial down to levels closer to 2009's Truelove's Gutter. But "She Brings the Sunlight" gets the record off to such a stirring start, featuring some gorgeous melodic twists and tasty solos, that turning this new creative corner with Hawley seems considerably more exciting than looking back.
Hawley is finally giving his session-player chops a chance to transform his music, and it'll be hard to imagine putting a lid on them after this, or that anyone would want him to. (www.richardhawley.co.uk)
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 7/10