Richard Hawley: Truelove's Gutter | CD review


With "forces' sweetheart" Vera Lynn at the top of the album chart, the time couldn't be more ripe for Richard Hawley to seduce a mainstream audience. His sixth album, like its predecessors, comes drenched in nostalgia: the cover portrait is styled after Roy Orbison; Open Up Your Door ends with a melody quoted from Strangers in the Night; there's even a song about hand-writing a love letter by firelight - who does that any more? Opening track As the Dawn Breaks might have been sung by Lynn herself, its mentions of "hope hung on every washing line" and "a songbird's melody" are so evocative of that era. Elsewhere, ghostly cries from the musical saw and ondes Martenot bring an element of eeriness and adventure - yet it's hard to escape a niggling feeling that Hawley is here polishing a formula, even falling back on cliche, in his continuing quest to make the local and homely sound lushly romantic.


Maddy Costa

The GuardianTramp

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