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Richard Hawley - In This City They Call You Love (Album Review)

Friday, 31 May 2024 Written by Chris Connor

Photo: Chris Saunders

Richard Hawley has enjoyed a highly eclectic career across the past 30 years, initially as a member of Britpop outfit Longpigs and briefly as a touring guitarist with Pulp. It’s his solo work, though, that has made him one of the most venerated British singer-songwriters of recent times and his 10th studio album ‘In This City They Call You Love’ is another delightful tour of his musical influences. 

Hawley has always been known for his guitar prowess and that is on display from the outset with the bluesy twang of Two for His Heels and Have Love, which is built around impressive riffage and offers a throwback of sorts to his indie roots. As a way to start the album, this one-two punch displays his versatility as a musician and songwriter. 

Prism in Jeans, with its wry humour and acoustic backdrop, recalls Hawley’s earlier work on albums such as ‘Coles Corner’. It is a gorgeous, soothing track held aloft by powerful vocals, delivering a wonderful sense of juxtaposition with the opening two songs.  

Heavy Rain is another soft delight. Largely stripped back to just Hawley’s vocals and guitar, it’s a luscious tonic. 

Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow captures mid-century American sounds with gorgeous harmonies and some impressive guitar work. Its shift in direction provides glimpses at some of Hawley’s musical routes and is a welcome departure, showing he is adept at trying something new. 

Deep Space, meanwhile, is one of the more up-tempo tracks with ferocious riffs, guitar solos and rattling drums — it marries wonderfully with some of the more reflective moments and confirms that when he cuts loose, Hawley knows how to rock. 

This LP is yet another winner: a mesmeric blend of witty lyricism, Americana and folk infused with a Sheffield sensibility. Soothing and thrilling in equal measure, it is the work of a writer who remains at the top of his game, with no sign of slowing down.

Richard Hawley Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sun June 02 2024 - GLASGOW Barrowland Ballroom
Mon June 03 2024 - EDINBURGH Usher Hall
Wed June 05 2024 - LEICESTER De Montfort Hall
Thu June 06 2024 - BRISTOL Bristol Beacon
Sat June 08 2024 - LONDON Eventim Apollo
Sun June 09 2024 - BRIGHTON Brighton Dome
Tue June 11 2024 - WOLVERHAMPTON Wulfrun Hall
Wed June 12 2024 - MANCHESTER O2 Apollo
Thu June 13 2024 - GATESHEAD Glasshouse International Centre for Music - Sage 1
Sat June 15 2024 - LIVERPOOL Olympia
Sun June 16 2024 - NORWICH UEA
Tue June 18 2024 - PORTSMOUTH Portsmouth Guildhall
Thu June 20 2024 - SCARBOROUGH Spa
Thu August 29 2024 - SHEFFIELD Don Valley Bowl

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