Richard Thompson - Electric

Homegrown collection with heartfelt vibes

After the full-on, amped-up assault of
2010’s Dream Attic, Thompson has reined
in his six-stringed excesses for an album
which, despite its title, is noticeably less
electric than its predecessor. Recorded at
producer Buddy Miller’s Nashville home
(drums in the lounge, guitars in the
kitchen), Electric’s easy manner and open
spaces help make the album Thompson’s
most rewarding release since 1999’s
Mock Tudor.

That’s not to suggest his earlier work
this century was in any way inferior, but the
songs on Electric are given more
opportunity to breathe and worm their way
into our hearts. There’s venom in the
lovers’ autopsy Good Things Happen To Bad
People and tearful regret in Another Small
Thing In Her Favour, while Salford Sunday
and Saving The Good Stuff For You bristle
with folksy optimism, the restraint of the
instrumentation serving rather than
swamping the lyrics.

The album is performed by a stripped-down
trio, with Buddy Miller occasionally
adding rhythm guitar himself, while the
voices of Alison Krauss and Siobhan
Maher Kennedy offer sweet counterpoints
to Thompson’s own clipped tones. The
former makes her mark on the gentle The
Snow Goose, while the latter provides
understated harmonies on several tracks,
most effectively on the forlorn Where’s
Home? and the restrained ode to
co-dependence My Enemy.

4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars

Proper | PRPCD 108

Reviewed by Terry Staunton
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