If the name Richard Hawley means anything to you, you're in for a surprise courtesy of his new album. And if you are thinking "Richard who?," you're in for a treat. Guardian music critic Alexis Petridis recently referred to Hawley as the "one-time Roy Orbison of the River Don," and that neatly encapsulates the solo albums Hawley has released since signing off as Pulp's touring guitarist a decade ago. For solo album No. 7, Hawley isn't going quietly into contented middle age in the countryside. Howling psychedelia is probably the best way to describe this record. Waterfalls of roaring guitars, playful bass lines bounding around like a young puppy, and Richard's trademark buttery croon. Some worry that it's a risky shift from the pastoral pre-rock of his back catalog. But I love the snarl. And what's at the heart of it? "Kindness should be a way of life," he sings amid the fury. Yes, love is all you need.
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