Richard Thompson

Sweet Warrior | Shout Factory
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  June 5, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
DARK STAR: Richard Thompson has his say
about Iraq on Sweet Warrior.
Richard Thompson here returns to electric six-string, but Sweet Warrior finds him spinning epic yarns instead of heroic solos. The centerpiece is “Dad’s Gonna Kill Me”: the “Dad” is Bagdad, and the story packs a young soldier’s worries about his disrupted life — and its potential end — into five fearful minutes. The bouncing shuffle arrangement is in sharp contrast to dark lyrics like the opening attention getter, “Out in the desert there’s a solider lying dead/Vultures pecking the eyes out of his head.” This is the disc’s only overt protest number, though Thompson has been open in his disapproval of the Bush’s administration’s bullshit. The remaining songs are love stories, but they’re about amour during wartime — bittersweet, cynical, and, as you’d expect, full of clever wordplay. “Francesca” is set to a ska beat, a tack rarely chosen by Thompson, whose musical touchstones are early rock and British folk. “Bad Monkey” is the most fun — a high-spirited putdown of a mercurial woman that rattles along like a blitzing carnival ride.
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