Lady's Bridge

Lady's Bridge

With a warm croon that recalls the mature romance of country star Jim Reeves and French pop chansonnier Serge Gainsbourg, and orchestral arrangements ripped from the Lee Hazlewood playbook (or maybe that’s the Tindersticks) Sheffield, England’s Richard Hawley excels at dark, lonely and hypnotic songs of love and loss. “Valentine” opens Hawley’s fifth solo album — named like his previous album, the excellent Cole’s Corner, after a local landmark — with a majestic elegance that twinkles as the strings rise to meet this gracious singer who’s headlining in his own electrified cocktail lounge. Piano and a flowing rhythm mirror the sentiments of “Roll River Roll,” a timeless tune which could have been penned in any decade. “Serious” picks up the pace with a near rockabilly skip. “Tonight the Streets Are Ours” revels in a celebratory vamp. But mostly, Hawley relies on slow, bittersweet pulses (“Lady Solitude,” “Our Darkness,” The Sun Refused to Shine”). Hawley’s reputation began as a capable sideman for Jarvis Cocker and Pulp, but his own talents demand notice as they’re never secondary.

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