Richard Hawley – Standing at the Sky’s Edge
Fifty minutes worth of soporific vocals and loud guitars may not sound like the most thrilling proposition, but when conducted by Richard Hawley, these brooding symphonies are irresistible.
The inimitable Brit-Pop survivor’s seventh studio album Standing at the Sky’s Edge, released on 7th May, is a bizarre but enjoyable opus. It sees Hawley take the brave step of experimenting with different sounds and showcases dark lyrical themes.
The Sheffield songwriter’s latest effort sits beyond the spectrums of orthodox Indie-Pop, and instead channels an emphatic and intense full-bodied sound. Hazy riffs and throbbing basslines cluster together to create nine tracks of sonic majesty.
Hawley’s outstanding vocals are immediately brought to light on first track She Brings the Sunlight. A pared-back mellow track that eases you in before the album evolves into more forceful and euphoric manoeuvres. It’s a masterful blend of intricacy and intimacy, with a real charm to its low-key tantric meandering.
Title-track Standing at the Sky’s Edge is heavily rhythmic and packed with eerie loops. It glistens with the confidence of a truly established songwriter: heart breaking, uplifting, and melancholy. Poetic yet grounded, Hawley elevates the mundane into the extraordinary with his incisive lyrics and paradoxically stoic-yet-emotive delivery.
Don’t Stare at the Sun combines enough spiky austerity and beautiful desolation to keep you delving into it over and over again. Twinkling melodies and dramatic instrumentation, this track wouldn’t look out of place next to his well-crafted 2005 release Coles Corner.
Standout track Leave Your Body Behind You is a work of heightened drama. Grandiose without being overblown, Hawley has created a masterpiece. Heavy with yearning, kaleidoscopic melodies and heart-rending sentiment this unforgettable track is unquestionably victorious.
Blazing-bellied assurance collides with punchy riffs and complex rhythms to form one of the greatest albums of this year, and there’s nothing here unworthy of the warmest of praise.
Standing at the Sky’s Edge is released by Parlophone on 7th May 2012.
Watch the video for Leave Your Body Behind You here: