Thursday, October 11, 2012

Song of the year? (1)

"She Brings the Sunlight", by Richard Hawley.

It may be that you have to live in Sheffield to fully "get" Richard Hawley. But you don't have to have so much as looked for Sheffield on Google Maps to twig to the idea that this song, the first track on Hawley's 2012 album, "Standing at the Sky's Edge", is something special.

It unfurls over seven and a half effortless minutes, drawing on practically every significant strain of British popular music over the previous 45 years (also Hawley's age) to create a song that is so huge, and so compelling, that it is like a giant psychedelic black hole: it sucks you in, and you are powerless to resist.

What is surprising, at least to those of us who have followed Hawley's career arc out of the corner of one eye, allowing it to come into sharp focus only on occasion (eg "Coles Corner"), and heartening to those of us that are way too far on the wrong side of 40, is the unforced and unembarrassing (cf, possibly, although this jury is still out, latter-day Nick Cave) hardness that Hawley has been able to draw on in pursuit of his muse this time around.