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Richard Hawley - Truelove's Gutter

Richard Hawley, Truelove's Gutter

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

RICHARD Hawley’s sixth studio album Truelove’s Gutter is – like its name suggests – a downbeat collection of songs that represent his darkest work to date.

Hawley describes it as haunting… having been inspired to write a series of songs that explore the idea of people or things being broken in some way, as well as the fractured times in which we live.

It’s also one that “sonically flows”, requiring people to really listen and pay attention, rather than pausing or – as Hawley puts it – “going off and watching Coronation Street or whatever”. While admirable, however, the nature of the album demands that the listener feel similarly sombre, otherwise they may find themselves on a massive downer pretty soon afterwards.

Of note are Hawley’s stark, distinct and, yes, haunted vocals, as well as the musical arrangements, which allow for some beautiful guitar solos and some uncommon instrumentation from the likes of a megabass waterphone and crystal baschet.

Vocally, Hawley tends to combine the intensity of Nick Love with the appeal of Old Shep era Elvis Presley, and even elements of Johnny Cash. His music, however, is much less mainstream.

Tracks like Don’t You Cry showcase the singer at his best… achingly beautiful, strangely ethereal and deeply soulful, it’s a heartfelt, personal journey which delivers themes that can still resonate with any listener.

Along with Remorse Code, another 10-minute offering, they probably offer the most intriguing and richly rewarding tracks on the album – with Remorse Code also benefiting from a slightly more upbeat percussion and some beguiling guitar solos.

But there are equally times when Hawley feels like he needs winding up. Don’t Get Hung Up In Your Soul, for instance, is strangely morose and lifeless, and is followed by the similarly stripped back, stark and sleep-inducing Soldier On, whick takes too long to really explode to life after about four minutes. It’s very much a song of two halves, but struggles to maintain the interest for too long.

Hence, Truelover’s Gutter is very much an album of highs and lows. It enthralls by virtue of the quality of its songwriting and its best moments, but it does require perhaps a little too much work from the listener with not altogether satisfying results.

Download picks: As The Dawn Breaks, Remorse Code, Don’t You Cry

Track listing:

  1. As The Dawn Breaks
  2. Open Up Your Door
  3. Ashes On The Fire
  4. Remorse Code
  5. Don’t Get Hung Up In Your Soul
  6. Soldier On
  7. For Your Lover Give Some Time
  8. Don’t You Cry

  1. Thanks for the article. I am taking notes on this artist.

    ganga chill out downbeat    Sep 20    #