Former Pulp guitarist turns sour heartache into nostalgic sweets
Hawley—former Longpigs frontman and Pulp/Jarvis Cocker sideman—
makes classic pop of such sumptuous substance that anyone with a romantic bone in their body should be helpless to resist. Opener “Valentine” sounds classic on first listen. It’s an end-of-the-road heartbreaker that swells with strings until it blossoms into a massive, irresistible chorus. The memorable melodies never let up, as cushy beds of piano and acoustic guitar underpin hooks that hang on chiming glockenspiels and vibes. On the surface, it’s simply an update of ’60s orchestral pop blended with dollops of Nashville countrypolitan and, on the snappy Everly Brothers-like “Serious,” a touch of rockabilly. The dramatic strains of Jimmy Webb, Scott Walker and Ray Price are smuggled into the new millennium on Hawley’s rollercoaster ride through the vagaries of love. It’s an E ticket ride.