Tonight The Streets Are Ours

Photo by Gareth Jones

Nick Lowe is getting a lot of press (and deservedly so) this year for doing the vintage pop crooner thing. His is the album to beat, as far as that sort of thing goes. I expect it to be thoroughly outdistanced by Mr. Richard Hawley, the gentleman behind 2005’s swooning, silk-shirted Cole’s Corner. With the kind of rich, commanding voice that calls to mind fellas like Frank and Dino, Hawley’s best songs merge classicist Tin Pan Alley songcraft with the modern energy of the rock ‘n’ roll era. Longtime readers will remember that I have a particular fondness – obsession is probably a more accurate word – with Hawley’s “The Ocean,” a track with a chorus as immense as a tidal wave.

“Tonight the Streets Are Ours” is the first single from his upcoming album Lady’s Bridge, and while it doesn’t command the moon-like gravity of “The Ocean,” the singer acquits himself well helming a lighter vessel. With its bouncy, almost tropical rhythm, it’s the kind of thing an indie-pop outfit like Belle & Sebastian or Jens Lekman would sound great doing; the fact that Hawley’s baritone is carrying it takes it to a deeper level, melodically and figuratively: “No one else can haunt me, the way that you can haunt me / I need to know you want me.”

Richard Hawley – “The Ocean”: mp3
(from Cole’s Corner)

Richard Hawley – “Tonight the Streets Are Ours”: stream on MySpace

(Lady’s Bridge is due August 20 in the UK on Mute; keep checking back for news on the US release date)


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