★★★★ 13 Rivers PROPER. CD/LP One-time Fairport guitarist returns to folk-rocking style.
Richard Thompson left Fairport Convention way back in 1971, but there is something of the sound he pioneered with that influential band – rooted in traditional folk, but with wildly original guitar solos and a certain mood of modernist bleakness – that has stayed with him ever since. That sound is stronger than ever on 13 Rivers, an album made after a difficult year for him and his family. The Rattle Within finds Thompson, now 69, facing up to mortality against a primitive beat; O Cinderella has that wonderfully fluid, whirling electric folk guitar first heard on Fairport Convention’s classic Liege And Lief; and The Storm Won’t Come has enough melodramatic gloom to give Nick Cave a run for his money. Driven along by a renewed sense of urgency and purpose, this may be Richard Thompson’s most creative album in decades.