Richard Hawley - Standing at the Sky's Edge

My perverse obsession with Richard Hawley is starting to worry my parents. And (if the court
orders asking me to stop writing to him and his loved ones are anything to go by) Richard Hawley, too.

In Standing at the Sky’s Edge, Richard Hawley has tried to recreate Beatles-in-India-esque psychedelia in post-industrial Sheffield. And, at the risk of sounding similar to the Mancunians that heckled Bob Dylan when he walked on stage with an electric guitar in 1965, I don’t think that I like it.

This is not the Richard Hawley album that extremists from the Annie Wilkes School of Fandom will
be pleased to hear, and sees him ditch – or drown out – the swooping, orchestral sounds that have been wreaking havoc with my sexual identity since I first heard Can You Hear the Rain, Love.

Though She Brings the Sunlight and Leave Your Body Behind You fizz like cans of existential Vimto, they fail to draw attention from poorer efforts such as The Wood Collier’s Grave and Time
Will Bring You Winter, which sound like Richard on a particularly unproductive day, fucking about with his new amp. The end result is a sort of ‘rock-a-billy-in-space’ vibe which, although littered with typical Hawley-style flashes of genius, fails to truly take off into orbit.

Standing at the Sky’s Edge is enjoyable, but doesn’t sound like a Richard Hawley album, and pales in comparison to the likes of Coles Corner and Lady’s Bridge. Despite this – as well as the wishes of Richard, his friends, family and the courts – I will continue to bombard him with love-letters and threatening parcels, and will do so until he succumbs to my indefatigable will and takes me as his wife.

Standing at the Sky’s Edge is out now.

[Sean Iles]

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