Cole’s Corner

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Cole’s Corner depicts Richard Hawley in front of a theater, flowers in hand. He’s waiting for someone. Sadly, the same bouquet’s in the dustbin on the back. She’s stood him up again. And that’s the story of Hawley’s life, or at least his characters. Cole’s Corner, the fourth solo effort from Pulp’s touring guitarist, brims with the thoughts and stories of the long-faced and lovelorn — “I love you just because,” or “I’m going downtown where’s there’s 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 Hawley’s 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 “Who’s Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet?” is the flipside of the album’s loneliness, an intimate and unfailing promise of personal devotion. And that dynamic keeps Cole’s Corner vital. It’s the strains of Scott Walker and Epic Soundtracks in Hawley’s 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 letters@metrotimes.com.

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