Short of having himself cloned and bronzed on Sheffield’s street corners, Richard Hawley is synonymous
with his hometown, titling albums after its landmarks, recording there, and describing
its beating urban heart in lush romantic song. This time, however, to suit
darker narrative fare, he’s pared back the orchestration; much of Truelove recalls Hawley’s haunting early
releases before he turned the swelling strings up to 11. Sparse arrangements
and uncommon instrumentation-saw accompaniment on “Don’t Get Hung Up on Your
Soul,” and megabass waterphone and crystal baschet elsewhere-define this
record, though two nine-minute-plus tracks drag on indulgently without commensurate
On the other hand, the intriguing “Soldier On” heads into un-Hawley-like
territory with a momentous crescendo that would make the Mogwai lads smile. But
these different directions add up to something that feels rudderless at times.
It’s as though Hawley knows he’s bled the orchestral swoon dry, but isn’t quite
sure whether to go forward or back.
Tracks: “Ashes on the Fire,” “Soldier On” JOHN