Richard Hawley – False Lights From The Land EP

07/06/2010 (Mute Records)

By Simon A. Morrison

Product DetailsDeep, mournful and as reflective as the sea itself, this new EP from Hawley backs up the recent Radio 2 series, The Ocean, in which the former Pulp guitarist looked at the relationship between the sea and British music.

We are, after all, an island race… and the fact that we’re surrounded on all sides by the wet stuff has indeed influenced our art, music and culture.  If we were California we would no doubt be currently making music about riding the surf and, indeed, riding the surf chicks.  However, we live amongst the mists and storms of the British Isles, and that is why we make music like Richard Hawley.

At four tracks it’s a day’s sailing rather than a transatlantic slog, but having these tracks is better than not leaving land at all.  It kicks off with a Hawley original “Remorse Code” which may put fans off purchasing, as that track also appears on Hawley’s last album, “Truelove’s Gutter”, notwithstanding the fact that it’s a gorgeous slice of melancholic, melodic jangling.  The two middle tracks “Shallow Brown” and “The Ellan Vannin Tragedy” – are covers and more folksy in dimension, especially as The Smoke Fairies share vocal duties.  The EP ends amongst the swirls and cascading guitars of “There’s A Storm A Comin’”, an unreleased Hawley original.  Close your eyes, rock gently on your couch and, quite aside from looking like a mentalist, you could almost imagine yourself out on the North Sea, in the quiet before a storm.

This EP is a buoy in an ocean, perhaps, but one Hawley fans want to cling onto… until the sight of a new album steams into view.

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