Reaching New Heights Down in the Dumps
Richard Hawley’s solo records have a bright, bold sound brimming with orchestral-like production that fills a room from floor to ceiling. The former Pulp guitarist and renowned British session musician has put a spotlight on a corner of that now darkened room on his current release, Truelove’s Gutter. Ironically, the stripped down album has an unprecedented complexity. Each note feels cherry-picked by the consummate storyteller to convey the lyrical tribulations. Hawley finds himself naked both musically and emotionally.
Hawley has a heavy heart on this album. The melancholy quality is obtained through the unique instrumentation of glass harmonicas, waterphone, megabass, and cristal baschet among others. This chamber accompaniment is in lieu of Hawley’s Britpop and Rockabilly roots. He uses his baritone voice as an ambient device in the style of Frank Sinatra. Single, “For Your Lover, Give Some Time” is an eerily evocative reminder of the crooner’s “It Was A Very Good Year.” The single could also be the soundtrack for Streisand’s “The Way We Were” if the humorous subtlety didn’t underscore all sentimentality: “Maybe I will drink a little less/Come home early and not complain about the day/And give you flowers from the graveyard now and then.” “Remorse Code” shows off Hawley’s splendid guitar playing amid anguish and regret, reflecting Scott Walker’s influence on the musician.
Truelove’s Gutter is just eight tracks long. However, one could fail to notice the brevity. The thoughtful sophistication is unlike any other artist. The audience is bound to be entranced in the intimate and insular “room” Richard Hawley pulls you into. You will never want to leave.