The title of Richard Thompson's 22nd post-Fairport Convention album succinctly relays the folk-rock guitar hero's current mode: plugged in. Specifically, Thompson plugged in at the Nashville home studio of Robert Plant producer Buddy Miller, who adds rhythm guitar. That's not to say there aren't traditional-leaning slow-burners here, such as Another Small Thing in Her Favour, a typical solar plexus blow. Thompson narrates this break-up in a voice tinged as much with near-eastern devotional music as it is traditional song. Elsewhere, the tempos are markedly groovier. Straight and Narrow is a juicy organ romp, while Stuck on the Treadmill, an acerbic galumph through hard times lit up by Thompson's genre-shredding guitar, essays a new genre: folk-funk.
Richard Thompson: Electric – review
Kitty Empire is the Observer's pop critic. She has written for NME and occasionally crops up on Radio 4, 5Live, BBC 6Music, and has appeared on BBC2's The Culture Show and Newsnight Review. @kittyempire666