The dependable Richard Thompson opted to record his latest collection of well-observed portraits, parables and commentaries live, believing that would encourage something special to happen.
And so it does: whether employing his scathing wit on bankers ("The Money Shuffle"), asking for help in a chugging polka-rocker ("Haul Me Up"), or raging against the dying of the light ("Crimescene" and "A Brother Slips Away"), raw nerves are frequently scarified by coruscating solo breaks. For light relief, there's a derisory portrait of Sting ("Here Comes Geordie") perfectly skewering his mix of pomposity, pretension and righteousness, and a rousing contemporary murder ballad ("Sidney Wells"). A folk-rock mix of dynamism and sensitivity textured with sax and electric violin.
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