Review: Richard Hawley – Standing At The Sky’s Edge

Richard Hawley’s albums thus far have featured several constants: titles inspired by Sheffield landmarks, twanging guitars and possibly the best modern croon in Northern England. Well, there’s a litle less crooning than normal on ‘Standing At The Sky’s Edge’ as Hawley gives vent to his hitherto undiscovered psychedelic leanings.

Indeed, Hawley’s usually understated steel guitar is now replaced by a howling gale of immense noise, complimented by sitar and pounding drums. For all followers of Hawley’s tear-stained tales of Northern loss, this will come as quite a shock. It tales a while to get used to the new regime but ‘Time Will Bring You Winter’ sees Hawley’s voice mutate from a vocally-blessed best mate at a pub to an evil Hammer Horror figure, ‘Down In The Woods’ is one of many songs to possess admirable levels of velocity and energy and the denoument to ‘Leave Your Body Behind You’ must be the Yorkshire Apocalypse.

Those worried that Hawley has sold his soul to the devil (quite literally in this case given the inescapable feeling of darkness) will be consoled by ‘Seek It’ which is a return to the gentle comforting blanket of Hawley’s previous records. ‘Don’t Stare At The Sun’, meanwhile, seems to stand at the cusp of the old and the new Hawley world and is arguably the best track; it’s akin to hearing Gerry And The Pacemakers performing ‘Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying’ in a wind tunnel.

Certainly it’s fair to assume that Hawley has wanted to make this record for some time, given his mighty band’s full blooded endeavours. It’s a testament to his talents, that it’s often quite a thrilling record too, even if there’s that nagging thought that he conveys tenderness so much better.

Web Sites:
Richard Hawley Official Site

Further Listening:
The Animals

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