RICHARD THOMPSON – Rumor and Sigh (1991)

Review by: Charly Saenz
Album assigned by: Jonathan Moss

I am travelling while writing this review, on a hot spring day, oddly calm and just a tad older than Richard when he wrote these songs. In a way I feel we’re travelling together. And it’s a fantastic trip. 

There’s a thing about solo artists in the days after the Great Music Decades. The nineties are a blur for me sometimes, I gotta admit. But many artists found their feet then by the end of the Bad Production Party of the late eighties. And I feel that as years go by it is more sensible to think of artists doing things on their own terms, their own timing and resources. After all who’s buying records? Play for the Torrent Kids. They’re the here and now. If the 80s were the Ego Decade these are the NobodyElse Times.

Richard is supposed to have made a great “mainstream friendly” album here. A deceiving trick I would say, as he reaches great heights in terms of subtlety while adhering to friendly hooks that only Fleetwood Mac might dream of. “Grey Walls” is an immense achievement in that category, and “I Dream Too Much” is the great tune Lindsay Buckingham never dreamt of. He stays on that nice tone, keyboard glares here and there, a shy secret weapon,  guitar-shaped. 

And after such mundane joy,  I arrive to my destination, evening starting to fall and shadows beginning to unfold, and Richard just manages to win my heart too. And he teaches me..

“Why must I plead with you darling/
For what’s already mine”

And I’ve done that too, yeah… And he brings me an anthem for the years to come (“1952 Vincent Black Lightning”) or he reminds me how “God loves a drunk”. Who else would he love? A banker? Come on.

And he manages to end the affair with an awkward song, “Psycho street”, which ably marries a bass-laden part with poignant lyrics.. To move into the sweetest musical box chorus ever. Genius.

And that’s the feat you know, that’s the trip. A little joy, a little nastiness. And a shy guitar, and a voice of your own.

Oh I’ve arrived, lucky me for the brilliant company.  Wish you all the same and the trip is worth it. Godspeed!