Richard Hawley | Standing at the Sky's Edge

Mute (2012)
By ZETH LUNDY  |  September 4, 2012
4.0 4.0 Stars

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Richard Hawley's seventh studio album opens with "She Brings the Sunlight," a clouds-parting, hippy-dippy drone explosion that plays like "Tomorrow Never Knows" caught in the echo of a football stadium. Drums roll in waves, and guitars — slathered in wah-wah, flange, and delay — consume Hawley's genteel croon. Other songs follow suit: the galloping "Down in the Woods," the eerie, dreamlike title track, and the existential psychedelia of the transcendent "Leave Your Body Behind You" all do a fine job of subverting Hawley's reputation. It's a bold and unexpected move for the English singer-songwriter, known for his subtler romantic touch. Here, Hawley's trademark Roy Orbison-via-Scott Walker touchstones are plotted amid shoegaze psych patterns from '90s UK rock. There is a brief reprieve during a three-song stretch in the record's middle: "Seek It," "Don't Stare at the Sun," and "The Wood Collier's Grave" are the calm in the eye of Hawley's storm, and the direct connection to his established aesthetic. This may be the most uncharacteristic of his albums, but by venturing outside his comfort zone, Hawley has in turn made his best.

  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Arts, Richard Hawley,  More more >
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