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cd review: richard hawley: truelove’s gutter
21 September, 2009, 12:52 PM
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Reviewed on Thursday, September 17, 2009 by Areti Sakellaris
Published on
4 Stars

Some folks take the dark and melancholy route so literally that the listener is expired by the final track, but not so for Richard Hawley on Truelove’s Gutter. While this is the time to defend the album and say that it’s not about being down in the dumps, it definitely spends time there, but the title is an actual forgotten swab of land in his hometown of Sheffield, England. It seems like the perfect setting for Hawley’s sixth studio album.

What immediately comes across is a reflective record draped in subtle tones and minimal ornamentation. “You’re the thorn/You’re the crown/Baby, don’t get hung up in your soul/Don’t let them make your heart cold,” Hawley offers on “Don’t Get Hung Up on Your Soul.” Tugging at the sadness living within, “Soldier On” with its majestic culmination enveloping the words he has “longed to say” as a testament to his love, is the album’s centerpiece and encapsulates the scope of Gutter.

“Don’t You Cry” shakes the album with its eerie opening measures and a tragic sense of beauty and decay, it might as well be a Poe poem dreamed to life. The antique instruments Hawley and his band used imbue an element of whimsy and character that slick production or modern-day instruments cannot compete with.

Hawley wanted to take a new direction with this album and his label offered him the go-ahead to cultivate the album he always wanted. Challenging himself to be more revealing in his writing, seems to have increased his confidence as a musician, recording his guitar solo on “Remorse Code” in one take makes the case. Truelove’s Gutter collects real and raw emotions and transforms them into a delicate symphony.

Hawley’s albums have been lauded in the international press, by the likes of R.E.M. and Radiohead, and he’s recorded with Elbow and Arctic Monkeys—the young lads admitted Hawley was “robbed” when they won the 2006 Mercury Prize instead. Still, that doesn’t matter because Truelove’s Gutter is a winner for his fans.


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