On the orchestral grandeur of albums such as Truelove’s Gutter, Lady’s Bridge and Coles Corner, Hawley was perhaps tapping in to sensibilities of pop classicism from past generations. His father’s record collection has always brought him inspiration but, on … Sky’s Edge, the creative touchstones lean more towards the late 60s psychedelia of the singer’s own first purchases.
If you’re looking for a tidy label to pin on this new collection, cosmic folk may work as well as any, the reassuringly familiar topics of love and loss still present, songs populated by believable three-dimensional characters but with effects-laden guitars to the fore. There are a lot of guitars on the album, where strings were before, making for a more organic and personal sound, but without jettisoning the essence of previous records.
Yet as radical as the changes to the sonic landscape may appear at first (Hawley doesn’t think so, see below), it’s a natural progression that seamlessly moves the man’s music forward. What hasn’t changed is Hawley’s lyrical eloquence on the passionate Leave Your Body Behind You and Don’t Stare At The Sun, while he again plunders the history of his Sheffield hometown on the title track and the evocative ballad The Wood Collier’s Grave.