Release Date: Sep 6, 2005
Record label: Mute
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Coles Corner is an actual place, a corner in Sheffield, Hawley's hometown, where people have met and encountered one another by chance, to hang out, rendezvous, and commiserate since 1905. This song cycle reflects the hope experienced in some of those chance encounters as it flowers and then withers and dies. Sounds like a downer, but Hawley's melancholy is so rich and empathetic, so devoid of self pity and self assessment, it is anything but.
Like Andy Warhol, endlessly printing up images of Marilyn and Brillo boxes, Richard Hawley has realised there's nothing wrong with finding your niche and burrowing in. His third album follows the template of its predecessors: romance reels at its heart, nostalgia aches in the crevices, lovers get "lost in the gloom" and lonely fellas haunt the streets hoping to meet "a girl with a flower in her hair". If there is a difference it's in the richness of the emotions and textures: with its luxurious, swelling orchestration, The Ocean feels bigger than anything Hawley has written before; Born Under a Bad Sign somehow more honeyed, lilting and tender.