Richard Thompson is one of those indomitable forces of the music industry who is ever present, ever talented and thankfully, never too far away from another new album. His last album might have only been made available from his shows or website but it doesn’t detract from the fact that it was a mere year ago.
Now he’s back again with his latest studio album Electric. Recorded in the home studio of music legend Buddy Miller, it’s an incredible composition of unique folk songs that are delectably infused with a series of incredible refrains from his electric guitar. His Midas touch leaves its mark on every second of music as he produces a complicated mixture of songs, completely defiant of categorisation. Intrinsic folk melodies jostle shoulders with deep, bold guitar riffs and a pounding beat that blurs the lines between blues, folk, country and rock music.
That this is an album designed for his music is made readily apparent from the first song, Stony Ground which; whilst utilising his gravelly voice to its full extent starts the album with his incredible musical skills. It projects into your consciousness a tight, foot-tapping song with a catchy chorus that will stick with you for days. Irrespective of the musical prowess displayed here, each song is so tightly compacted with Thompson’s vocals that it would be impossible to separate them and nor would they have the required impact if you could.
This collection of songs sits on a high fence where genres no longer exist, and blurring the lines as it does, it is able to compile a selection of songs that range from excitingly uplifting such as Sally B and Straight and Narrow, to soft, complex and heartfelt tales such as My Enemy and Good Things Happen to Bad People. Songs such as these might at glance appear as a depressing counter to the rest of the CD but these smooth, soulful tunes are complimented perfectly by the upbeat nature of the rest of the album resulting in a collection that will leave a warm feeling spreading throughout you.
If you’re smart enough to spend the extra couple of pounds to spring for the deluxe edition of the album too, you’ll be treated to a second CD with an additional 7 tracks. With this second CD you will be provided with a brief but uncompromisingly superb set of songs that flatter the main album including the wonderful Auldie Riggs – which is worth the extra money alone. It’s a melodic but jarring shanty-style tale that’s accompanied by music which could move a mountain.
As always, to hear Richard Thompson’s voice and his incredible guitar playing is to know that he is doing exactly as he was meant to do. His accompaniment of bouncing instruments ensure that every song is nothing short of perfect before it reaches your ears and it’s impossible to listen to one of the CDs without instantly wanting the next. It’s a musical cycle that could keep you inside for days.
For more information on Richard Thompson, Electric and his upcoming tour, check out his website here:
Have a listen to his single ‘Good Things Happen To Bad People’
You can also pre-order Electric from here:
Review by Joe Knipe