Teddy Thompson has never hidden his love of or the influence of 50s and 60s music on his own work. The echoes of such are resonant throughout his new album 'Heartbreaker Please', yet the songs sound fresh and vibrant.
Teddy has a way of harnessing his enthusiasm for the music of that era and placing his own indelible stamp on it, topped off with his that incredible voice of his.
Kicking off with the poppy ‘Why Wait’, with its vibrant soul horns and the hooks are in. Thompson’s lyrics remain a thing of succinct witticisms; conversational almost at times. You’re a fly on the wall as the loving goes out out the door.
Here’s the thing, you don’t love me anymore. I can tell, you got one foot out the door.
While many of the songs dissect love gone bad, and the ending of a real-life partnership, some could also be seen as Thompson having a reckoning with his adopted city of New York. Thompson has specialised in the past writing slow songs that are sad or maybe sad songs that are slow. On ‘Heartbreaker Please’, the songs are still about matters of the heart, but set to a jauntier beat, and the result is very fulfilling, and upbeat in tone as well as pace.
The finger-clicking, hand-clapping ‘At A Light’ is a case in point. All it lacks is The Shirelles or The Chiffons on backing vocals, as the melancholy is driven along on an infectious groove. It’s hard to feel sorry for the guy when the earworm takes hold.
The same can’t be said for the pleading title track ‘Heartbreaker Please’, which is a real tearjerker.
Here’s the piece of my heart that you left at the part. Only bit that remains, you can break it again.
Even love that hurts can be yearned for or so it seems for the lost and lonely. I suppose it always helps when you can get your dad, Richard Thompson, to play on the track. Other slower ballads are just as effective such as ‘No Idea’ and the rather lovely ‘What Now’.
And it only happens now when we’re miles away. And it only happens now that I’m lonely. See the world is a cold place. Don’t mess with what you can’t replace and it only matters now if you’re with me.
‘Record Player’ is a song that Teddy has been playing live for quite some time; an appreciation of those songs of old so beloved by him. He really wears his heart on his sleeve on this one with lyrics reminiscent of Nick Lowe.
Where are the songs that I love? Where is the music that I care for? Is it only in my head or on my record player? So I go for a walk now, I have to clear my ears. Even the birds are singing the biggest shit hit of the year.
In common with the music he so loves, the songs are short and snappy. So, in the unlikely event that you don’t like one, another little hook-driven ode is coming right at you. They may be short in duration, but they will enjoy repeated plays.
Collaborations aside, it’s been nine years since the last Teddy Thompson solo album. By my reckoning, that about eight years too long.