Coles Corner (Mute)
Richard Hawley, oh man, 'put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone...' because Coles Corner is so perfectly, studiously styled, even Brini Maxwell could not complain. Maybe a satisfactory hmmpphhh from her... For the campiness alone. There's a touch of the Jim Reeves and the Marty Robbins here and there and every note on this album trickles thimblefuls of treacle right over you. Damn you'll be a mess afterwards. But you'll know, if not by the first note, but by the last, you'll know its worth it.
"Oh tonight, I've got it really bad."
You know that feeling right?
"Maybe I should call her, but then she'd know..."
The record calls out every cadence before it reaches into the buzzing headphones of my iPod. Telegraphing every move. And before you get to thinking thats a bad thing, just then, awash with strings, just when you're absolutely certain of what is supposed to happen next - Richard wrings out his ambitions and swamps your expectations.
'Born Under A Bad Sign' is either the campiest pastiche of Johnny Ray 50s white pop, ever, or simply the greatest song that had waited forever to be written. Waited for Richard Hawley to get his hands on it. For all students of self-delusional grandeur everywhere. Deicide or deified. You decide.
None of this remotely reminds me of the four hours I spent in Sheffield in 1980. Places change I guess.
Coles Corner is put together like a superbly tailored, dark suit, welcome equally at weddings and funerals, more commented on than the contents of the casket. It has the movie romance of the leading man staring through your rain streaked mid-century modern panes in a first generation argyle sweater. That said, this collection has plenty of jaunty moments too, imagine had Stephen Tin Tin Duffy been able to sing, The Lilac Time, truly could have been this good.
I recall San Diego's Deadbolt explaining their voodoobilly musical style, which they attributed to their advancing years, they couldn't keep up with the pace of their rockabilly roots. And it seems that only Richard Hawley, n?©e Treebound Story, Pulp, the Longpigs, a man who navigated the world and came on home, maybe only a man like who'd done all that, could create something as roundly rubinesque, as measured and as exceptionally beautiful as this.
Photography by Gareth James