Speakers Push Air

The 2009 Top 20 Albums Of The Year: #3
December 29, 2009, 6:04 pm
Filed under: 2009 Top 20

Being ill the last couple of days means I can cover my tracks re: totally getting the maths wrong to ensure this chart finishes on NYE. Phew…

Number 3: Richard Hawley – Truelove’s Gutter

The last album from Hawley was great, and although it only made my #13 in 2007, it would definitely finish a lot higher with hindsight. No such problem with Truelove’s Gutter, which I suspect will be remembered as Hawley’s classic. It doesn’t seem like a massive departure at first – that incredibly rich voice, the lush arrangements, the pervading air of melancholy – but there’s a lot more going on here. In addition to the much-trumpeted esoteric instrumentation (glass harmonicas and the like), the songs here are extended and yet simultaneously simplified (see Remorse Code in particular, which tackles Hawley’s years of chemical “issues”); mood takes precedence, and what a mood.

Hawley gets written off (by people who aren’t really listening) as some kind of MOR kitsch troubadour type, but that really misses the point. He takes those styles and comes up with something totally his own. Another year, this might actually have made the top spot, but the competition is tough.

Richard Hawley – For Your Lover Take Some Time

Richard Hawley – Remorse Code

(Truelove’s Gutter, Mute Records)

NB: By a strange set of circumstances, this year I got the same quiff advice from Mark Kermode that he once gave Hawley. I paid heed, but Hawley has stuck with the Black & White pomade, which must really fuck off whoever washes the towels in his house.

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