Richard Hawley, 'Truelove's Gutter' (Mute)

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Truelove's Gutter
Critical Mass
Label: mute

by David Marchese

With his gorgeously forlorn baritone, Richard Hawley could sing the German phonebook and make it sound like a sonnet. So it's a given that Gutter, like the ex-Pulp sideman's five previous shimmering, sepia-toned solo albums, has moments of heartbreaking beauty. Too bad those moments are outnumbered by a reliance on secondhand lyrical conceits (songbirds, shipwrecks) and drifting arrangements. A song as lugubrious as "Don't You Cry" doesn't need 11 minutes to work its tearful trick. Hawley's shattering Coles Corner (2005) offers a sharper take on bittersweet midnight music.

WATCH: Richard Hawley, "For Your Lover Give Some Time"

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