A third consecutive album named after a lost corner of his beloved Sheffield hometown might suggest it’s business as usual for Hawley, but the lush grandeur and epic pop we’ve come to expect is delivered here in a more ambitious form. He’s attempted to present his new songs as one lengthy mood poem, linked like chapters in a novel – and it’s a triumph.
A couple of tracks skirt around the 10-minute mark but never overstay their welcome, as Hawley casts his own family and friends in tender, carefully-scripted vignettes that still manage to speak to us all. He’s sarcastic and self-mocking on For Your Lover Give Some Time, playing the role of Gallic balladeer with some relish, while he offers an unwavering shoulder to those struggling with addiction (Remorse Code) or mental illness (Don’t Get Hung Up In Your Soul).
The palette of sound remains familiar, with some eyebrow-raising additional instrumentation (musical saw, Cristal Baschet, Ondes Martenot) that neatly sidesteps any accusations of novelty. The bizarre contraptions embellish the melancholy of Hawley’s real-life stories, couching his ever maturing lyrical clarity in a gorgeously atmospheric cradle that comforts and nourishes the listener.