Coles Corner depicts Richard Hawley in front of a theater, flowers in hand. Hes waiting for someone. Sadly, the same bouquets in the dustbin on the back. Shes stood him up again. And thats the story of Hawleys life, or at least his characters. Coles Corner, the fourth solo effort from Pulps touring guitarist, brims with the thoughts and stories of the long-faced and lovelorn I love you just because, or Im going downtown wheres theres music. But its wistful sadness is frequently interrupted by keening strings or jaunts of traditional pop, like smiles from pretty strangers to renew the hope of Hawleys lonesome losers. The title track is utterly cinematic in its sad grace, while Born Under a Bad Sign, Just Like the Rain and I Sleep Alone blend shades of blues, folk and country. Hotel Room is a sleepy 50s-style ballad. Ultimately Whos Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet? is the flipside of the albums loneliness, an intimate and unfailing promise of personal devotion. And that dynamic keeps Coles Corner vital. Its the strains of Scott Walker and Epic Soundtracks in Hawleys work, even Tim Hardin artists with capacities for depression as much as bright blooms of beauty.
Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.