Richard Hawley may have established himself as the Godfather of the Sheffield music scene, starting out in the Longpigs before briefly joining Pulp and then giving a leg-up to the town’s younger upstarts – Arctic Monkeys among them. But his solo career has consistently pushed boundaries and seen him venture into sounds from beyond his Yorkshire town.
2012’s ‘Standing At The Sky’s Edge’, for instance, saw Hawley tread a swampier, more psych-driven path that earned the crooner a Mercury Prize nomination for his troubles. Now, he returns with the first taster of album eight. ‘Which Way’ ups the psych factor even further but sets it in the 60s garage tradition rather than the rumbling murder ballads of before. Taking its cues from established Hawley favourite The Sonics, ‘Which Way’ shimmies along to a Motown-tinged stomp while fuzzy guitars offer up loose, swinging hooks that hit straight without the need for noodling intricacies.
Taken from ‘Hollow Meadows’, due September 11 via Parlophone, it backs up Hawley’s earlier assertions about keeping the record simple. “For me, I’ve found that the simpler I make things, the easier it is to live your life, and to not get bogged down in things that are beyond your control,” he told NME. “Just make the music, stick it out and hope you make some friends. It’s not complicated, I don’t think. There’s something quite honourable about that as well.”
Listen and make your mind up for yourself below.