Highlights: Salford Sunday, My Enemy, Another Small Thing In Her Favour, The Snow Goose
While I do see why so many people say Electric is Thompson’s best album since Front Parlour Ballads (if not actually 1999’s brilliant Mock Tudor), I only started to really believe it when the album got to track 8. We all know Richard can do a monumentally gorgeous ballad, but what could prepare me for “Another Small Thing In Her Favour”? Heartbreaking lyrics and an absolutely timeless folk melody, surely it has to be his greatest since (drumroll) “End Of The Rainbow”. But do read on.
For however blinded I may be by that one song, Electric offers many more instances of masterful songwriting from one of Britain’s finest. He just sounds so potent and, well, real in the context of modern-day flimsy folkies with beards and weak songs. True legend; the word is being brandished in a ridiculous way these days, but surely it is legitimate in Richard Thompson’s case.
This time I feel particularly drawn to the album’s ballads. Besides the aforementioned one, there’s the disarming, acoustic beauty of “The Snow Goose” (with Alison Krauss) and the chilling and equally timeless “My Enemy”. But trust Thompson to record a number of lush, gutsy rockers that are filtered through all those 1000 years of folk music. Some may rely too much on that unfading folk workshop, but even then the record sounds wonderful, shining as it does through Richard’s charisma and exceptional guitar playing.
Just another jewel in his impressive catalogue, then; absolutely indispensable for the fans and pretty much any music lover with an ounce of taste and self-respect. Electric is a great Richard Thompson album, nothing more to add.