Richard Hawley | Standing at the Sky's Edge

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


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.

Related: Maximo Park | The National Health, The Raveonettes | Observator, Field Report | Field Report, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Arts, Richard Hawley,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BROWN BIRD | FITS OF REASON  |  March 18, 2013
    Brown Bird, a boundary-pushing Americana duo from Rhode Island, make music that touches upon that can't-put-my-finger-on-it amalgamation of past and future sounds.
  •   NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS | PUSH THE SKY AWAY  |  February 20, 2013
    Much like the similarly low-key The Boatman's Call , Cave's highly anticipated 15th album with the Bad Seeds manages the puzzling feat of making a great band seem inconsequential, if not entirely absent.
  •   SCOTT WALKER | BISH BOSCH  |  November 27, 2012
    Scott Walker's late-period about-face is one of the strangest in the annals of pop music.
    Bill Withers has always been the down-to-earth, odd-man-out of the '70s soul brothers: he's the one who came bearing a lunch box on the cover of his relaxed 1971 debut, Just as I Am .
  •   R.E.M. | DOCUMENT [25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION]  |  September 19, 2012
    Fans of R.E.M. enjoy arguing over which album was the band's true shark-jump, but 1987's Document was inarguably the end of a groundbreaking era.

 See all articles by: ZETH LUNDY