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Richard Hawley’s Truelove’s Gutter

Josh Hurst reviews Richard Hawley’s Truelove’s Gutter for Stereo Subversion:

Who is Richard Hawley? Well, for starters, I’m increasingly convinced that he is the ultimate anti-hipster. In addition to his membership in the Britpop iconoclasts Pulp, he’s made six albums under his own name, and none of them could possibly be any further from what’s cool, trendy, or — God forbid — mainstream. The man sings in a voice that sounds like Johnny Cash crooning à la Bing Crosby, all quiet dignity and restraint. His music is slow and impossibly quiet. His range of influences consists mostly of rockabilly and classic pop idioms that predate The Beatles, and, in an age when irony sells like hotcakes, Hawley peddles unabashed sentiment.

In other words, he’s a hopeless romantic who plays pop music of aching, exquisite beauty and enveloping sadness. He wouldn’t make it past the first round of American Idol, and I doubt he’d fare much better with the Pitchfork crowd. But their loss is our gain: Hawley’s music has absolutely no counterpart or touchstone in modern music, which makes it indispensable.

I picked up Truelove’s Gutter this week, and I can’t get enough of it. ​“Open Up Your Door” is absolutely sublime (it’ll almost certainly end up on my year-end mix) and the one-two punch of ​“Soldier On” and ​“For Your Lover, Give Some Time” never ceases to floor me.

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