2012 release, the sixth solo album from the British singer, songwriter and guitarist. Recorded at Sheffield's Yellow Arch Studio in 2011, `Standing At The Sky's Edge' marks a seismic shift in direction for Hawley. The album is a euphoric, sonic assault on the senses, channeling elements of Psychedelia, Space Rock and Ragas with heavy riffs and raw, visceral guitar solos which will surprise Hawley's fans and peers alike. Exploring lyrical themes of love, loss, redemption and darker areas of the human condition, it's an album of ominous storytelling and cosmic exploration, sung in Hawley's rich baritone and soundtracked by an epic musical journey in glorious, menacing Technicolor. In the tradition of Hawley's previous albums, the title is inspired by an area of Sheffield. Standing At The Sky's Edge is set to establish Hawley as one of the UK's greatest, contemporary guitarists.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 starsRichard Hawley - Darkness on the edge of SheffieldMay 19 2012
By Red on Black - Published on Amazon.com
This is all a bit unexpected. Richard Hawley classic balladeer, aching lyricist and glorious singer songwriter becomes a space rock cadet? That at least is the interpretation of a number of music magazine reviews of this album thus far and it is partly why this reviewer for the first time approached a Hawley album with a distinct degree of trepidation. On the surface it all sounds faintly sacrilegious. Hawley is a man of humungous talent but inevitably when his name enters your head its the lush romanticism of a "Coles Corner", "Tonight the streets are ours" or "For your lover give some time" which spring to the forefront. In this setting his latest opus "Standing at the sky's edge" is a real departure but the good news is that it is a roaring success particularly if you are prepared to move on from his accumulated past glories and celebrate a much nosier and sonic orientated domain. The declaration of intent comes on the monster seven minute opener "She brings the light" which starts sounding vaguely Eastern in a "Kashmir" kind of way until huge hammer chords pile in and Hawley's echoing vocals roll out over what sounds like a mix of sitars. It is like Stone Roses power chords at Spinal Tap volume eleven meets Cornershop and it works brilliantly largely because of underlying pop sensibility of Hawley's songwriting. Register in addition the blistering guitar solo at around four minutes might bring down the porcelain ducks off the wall. If you want to hear it you can download the track free from Amazon, bless them. The pace settles into a moody gallop on the deeply textured title track on which Hawley's atmospheric vocals are at their brilliant best. It has a nice psychedelic feel and really does power up over its near seven minute duration. "Time will bring you winter" is all looped vocals and has a huge guitar backdrop that those Texan post rockers "Explosions in the sky" would be proud of. Barely is this concluded before "Down in the woods" piles in with enough force to feed the national grid and distinctly echoes Hawley's Manchester contemporaries The Doves with its robust execution. These first four songs are as far removed from anything on the dark beauty of 2009s "Truelove's Gutter" as is possible to achieve. They demonstrate however that Hawley is super intelligent rock composer who can bring to the genre a sense of melody and structure whilst ripping bare the frames of your speakers and threatening them with destruction.
Things cool considerably in the second part of this album. With the fifth track "Seek it", he returns to a template that his supporters will fully recognise. It is a gorgeous rolling love song where he sings of being "blinded by love" and can be safely played in front of your partner. Equally the standout "Don't stare at the sun" shows Hawley can turn on the melodic tap at any point a produce a lovely song packed to the rafters with dreamy introspection and an emotive fade out where his guitar playing hits the heights. The mood darkens for the swirling "The wood colliers grave" which sounds like an old fashioned murder ballad before he returns with the big rock anthem "Leave your body behind" with its angry almost Paul Weller sounding power chords. The whole kit and kaboodle is rounded off with a love ballad "Before" that sounds like a mix of Duane Eddy meets Lift to Experience. This song is partitioned with a guitar solo so furious it needs anger management. Yet despite all the feedback and noise Hawley is always in control and it is an impressive conclusion to an album which will inevitably generate some debate and possibly split the jury.
If you like Hawley in the guise of tender songsmith the bulk of this album may get on your proverbial wick. "Standing at the sky's edge" is a noisy old beast and is clearly framed as a departure from his previous work. You sense that Hawley might be getting from it that kind of pleasure the old contrarian Neil Young gets from his various high energy electric dispatches, not least a devil may care attitude to a traditional fan base. Nevertheless there is easily enough here to satisfy old and new fans and Hawley is to be commended on taking a risk that he succeeds into turning into a new and vibrant opportunity for his musical direction. What do you think?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 starsA Bracing Change of PaceJuly 31 2012
By Kurt Harding - Published on Amazon.com
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I had heard that Richard Hawley's new album was going to be much different from what fans were used to, but none of that talk prepared me for the bracing change of pace heard here. The music on Standing At Sky's Edge is mostly quite unrecognizable as his work, Seek It and Don't Stare at the Sun being the chief exceptions. Instead of the usual collection of romantic ballads and mellow sounds, Hawley has offered his fans a collection of mostly hard-edged and often almost psychedelic tunes. I like the new sound. The album opens with a powerful She Brings the Sunlight which sets the mood. That is followed by the fine and dark title cut which is highly suggestive of Jim Morrison. Down in the Woods is another standout cut imbued with the spirit of Hawley's new direction. Then there are the eerie strains of A Wood Collier's Grave which starts out slow and builds into the thundering cacophony of Leave Your Body Behind You. It's nice to hear a talent like Hawley step far out of what seems to be his comfort zone and issue an album like this. My copy of this is an actual CD bought just months ago(rather than MP3 downloads), but which seems to have disappeared from the market. If you can get the CD, it is accompanied by a booklet that is attractive but which contains little information. If you can't get the CD, then I recommend getting hold of this fine release anyway you can. You won't be sorry!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 starsAbso-friggin-lutley amazing!June 14 2013
By W. C. Kuebler - Published on Amazon.com
Amazon Verified Purchase
I had never even heard of Richard Hawley before this album was recommended to me (I'm now embarrassed to say). This is a "dream sound" of mine - love it. Slow building, menacing, crunchy, funky, moody, groovy, dark & cool! This is honestly one of the best things I've heard in a very long time. Killer guitar work, deep in-the-pocket bass, killer vocals.... Overall a masterpiece.