Setanta – 2001 – 41 minutes
With Richard Hawley's knack for a hummable melody and his honey-coated vocal cords, 'Late Night Final' is a pure sweetheart of a record. Hawley – former guitarist for hire with Pulp, amongst others – follows his critically acclaimed debut mini-album with this classy turn. There's no major leap forward but, having been quietly seduced by earlier songs like 'Coming Home', that's something we can easily live with.
Digging deep into dreamy melancholy on songs like 'Something Is…!' and 'Long Black Train', this is Andy Williams-type lounge music for a new generation, but without the kitsch irony associated with the easy listening movement. The unabashed romanticism of 'Baby, You're My Light' and 'Love Of My Life' puts paid to any kind of cynical leanings. Beautifully crafted songs are complimented by sparse instrumentation which allows space for the smoky warmth of Hawley's voice to be best heard.
Ending with the sublimely named 'The Light At The End Of The Tunnel (was a Train Coming the Other Way)', the old-fashioned wistfulness of 'Late Night Final' is easy to love. Brand new nostalgia for the twenty-first century.
Tracklisting:Something Is...! - Baby You're My Light - Love Of My Life - The Nights Are Cold - Can You Hear The Rain, Love? - Lonely Night - Precious Sight - No Way Home - Cry A Tear For The Man In The Moon - Long Black Train - The Light At The End Of The Tunnel (Was a Train Coming the Other Way)