Heartbreaker Please is the seventh studio album from Teddy Thompson, his first since 2016’s Little Windows collaboration with Kelly Jones. The bets are on as to how long we can resist mentioning his dad, Richard…
Release Date: 29th May 2020
Label: Thirty Tigers
Formats: CD / DL / vinyl
I’m sure that Teddy Thompson needs no introduction to At The Barrier regulars. He’s been around now for some 20 years now and he is, of course, also the elder of Richard and Linda Thompson’s two children (sister Kamila the other). He’s provided contributions and inputs to the products of each of his famous parents, most notably as the co-author and co-producer of his mother’s 2002 comeback album, Fashionably Late; as a member of his father’s touring band during the mid 1990s and as the curator and producer of the Thompson family’s Family collaboration in 2014.
For Heartbreaker Please, Teddy has put together a small but tight and competent band to play a collection of self-effacing songs written around the disintegration of a recent relationship and the domestic and emotional upheavals that followed. The result is perhaps not what one would expect from a Teddy Thompson album but a collection which is, nevertheless, pleasant, easy to listen to and ultimately, highly enjoyable. Teddy’s voice is as strong and melodic as always and the album’s mix emphasises that quality, with the vocals well to the front. It’s a short album – most of the 10 tracks are around three minutes in length – and the self-pitying subject matter of the songs, coupled with the often sparse instrumentation, seems somehow appropriate for the current period of isolation and enforced contemplative listening.
The songs touch on a variety of musical styles; opening track Why Wait is a horn-laden Motown pastiche, At A Light is a light, poppy offering that belies the doomful subject matter of the song, Brand New is a slower, sadder ballad that still manages to offer a note of hope in its storyline, Record Player touches on reggae and the substance behind Take Me Away is in Chris Carmichael’s excellent strings arrangement.
As for album highlights – well – look no further than the title track, Heartbreaker Please which, in amongst its pleading for the departed lover to return, contains a typically searing guitar solo from father Richard Thompson. Elsewhere, the lyrics to Record Player express frustration at the low quality of modern-day publicly broadcast music (a sentiment that many of us certainly share) and the acoustic guitars on Move At Speed set a plodding pace, before a tingling synth solo and what is perhaps Teddy’s best vocal performance on the album seal the closing notes to a pleasant, highly listenable album.
Listen to the title track here: