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Richard Hawley - Standing at the Sky's Edge (2012) review

Richard Hawley "Standing at the Sky's Edge" (Parlophone, 2012) 

Without dropping his romantic persona, Hawley takes a step both sideways and back, harking visions of his neo-psychedelic, neo-hippy days with Longpigs; where he shares the half drenched druggy and forgotten guitar images made famous by Oasis and The Verve.  Also, much like The Verve, the release has the gentle feel of a concept album, where the songs are interlaced, with lyrics and vocals that simmer just below the surface.  It’s a broad step for this out of time artist, one who sports a rock-a-billy image, and delivers earthbound sagas, that while channeling the spirit of Roy Orbison, never manage to climb to those soaring vocal heights ... and to that end, he never manages to allow his guitar to soar to the altitudes delivered by The Verve on say, “Valium Skies.”

Hewley has described Standing At The Sky’s Edge as his loud album, but I rather think that’s an after thought to justify something that’s not there.  What is there is a mix of political commentary and the unfolding of a bleak world most of us would rather turn away from, delivered in the homespun manner of a man who’s still sounding the warning, even as he refuses to see all that’s tumbling around him.

While the first track, “She Brings The Sunlight,” sets the stage for a splendid ride, things get musically out of hand rather quickly, where the second track ushers in an intense bottom that feels uncomfortable and unforgiving ... and it’s not until the fifth track “Seek It,” that we’re face to face with the Richard Hawley we all know and love.  I wanted to be enraptured by this album, and in the end, I feel that I’ve been left out in the wind, without a substantial breeze to move me in any direction at all.

Review made by Jenell Kesler/2014
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