There can be few better people to spend a night alone with than Richard Hawley. Not in a night-of-hot-passion sense (although I have no reason to think that he would not be a generous and tender lover), but in the sense of beautiful nocturnal solitude. With a voice evocative of Roy Orbison and Ian McCulloch, and tunes of gentle, shimmering beauty, I can think of no better companion; this album is up there with the Scott Walkers, Dylans and any other late night songsmith of the last fifty years.
Solely, it is about the songs; eleven pure and sophisticated tales of love and lamentation. Sung in a soothing, intimate croon, passion and grace are weighed up in equal manner.
'Run For Me' sounds like a less glacial version of the Tindersticks' 'Travelling Light' and 'The Only Road' - reminiscent of Elbow's 'Scattered Black & Whites' - skips along with more subtlety and grace than you could possibly hope for. 'You Don't Miss Your Water' is another highlight, waltzing woozily around words of bitter regret. It's all held together by a sense of melody and pop that ensures that the songs are trimmed to their succinct best.
9Gareth Dobson's Score