The echo maker

Fol­low­ing his death in July, Richard Swift’s fi­nal al­bum is a tough lis­ten

Esquire (UK) - - Culture -

It is im­pos­si­ble to lis­ten to The Hex by Richard Swift, who died in July aged 41 from causes re­lated to al­co­hol, with­out think­ing about his im­mi­nent death, and won­der­ing if he was too. The Cal­i­for­nia-born singer, song­writer and pro­ducer, whose nu­mer­ous solo records may not have had the same recog­ni­tion of some of the artists he worked with — The Black Keys, Pre­tenders, The Shins — but his mu­sic was beloved by fel­low mu­si­cians and so was he. Dave Dep­per of Death Cab for Cu­tie called him “the most tal­ented per­son I’ve ever met.” The Hex show­cases the range of Swift’s artistry, from the spooky falsetto of the open­ing ti­tle track, to the wa­tery-eyed rag­time of “Dirty Jim”, filled with a weary sad­ness de­spite its jaunty swing, to the more ex­per­i­men­tal “Kens­ing­ton!” on which Swift’s spo­ken bari­tone has the play­ful men­ace of Tom Waits or Iggy Pop. Fi­nal track “Sept20” is the tough­est to lis­ten to. The date is his wed­ding an­niver­sary — it would have been his 21st this year — and in the gen­tle pi­ano bal­lad he both makes prom­ises of “try­ing not to drink from a poi­son well”, while ac­cept­ing he is slip­ping away. “When I go, I go out alone”, he sings. One can only hope that’s not how he felt in the end.

The Hex (Se­cretly Cana­dian) is avail­able to down­load now; phys­i­cal re­lease on 7 De­cem­ber

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.