Richard Hawley: Truelove's Gutter | CD review

(Polydor)

As we approach the end of the decade, expect an avalanche of lists, including those for its bestselling albums. Dido and Robbie Williams will dominate, in the UK at least, suggesting a divided nation oscillating between sedation and light entertainment. Tucked in behind should be an interloper with an acoustic guitar, David Gray, who began his career back when it was all Britpop and no one cared for earnest singer-songwriters.

But while Gray is a singer-songwriter keen to Say Something About the World, Richard Hawley simply invites you inside his. It's much like the one we live in, only filtered through his own incurable romanticism. Sixth album Truelove's Gutter is his best, thanks to easing back on the twanging guitar and ads for his native Sheffield in favour of more universally minded tunes, the finest of which, the 10-minute Remorse Code, edges into ambient territory. He'll never shift Gray numbers, obviously, but adoration from, plus the odd bit of ripping off by, the likes of the Arctic Monkeys suggests his songbook may live on regardless.

Contributor

Gareth Grundy

The GuardianTramp

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