He may not be posh but Richard Hawley can be grand. The first single from forthcoming album Coles Corner is a rather splendid piece of lush romanticism. The five-minute-plus album version has been cut down for single duty, and given a crashing intro instead of the gentle, gradual build of the former.
But the body remains a lovely vehicle for Richard Hawley's velvety voice, part growl, part croon. "You lead me down by the ocean / the world is fine by the ocean / you know this time's for real / it helps the heart to heal..." And this being a love song (and apparently an autobiographical one at that), there's not much doubt what the pair are getting up to down by the ocean, even without the climax - orchestral and presumably otherwise as well - of "Here comes the wave..."
Other songs on Coles Corner may prove more interesting in the long run, but The Ocean - and the move to Mute - will serve well to introduce a new audience to Hawley's relaxed, retro classic sound. The 7" version includes Kelham Island, an orchestral track highlighting the lap steel and Hawaiian guitar sounds of so many of Hawley's songs.