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Review: Richard Swift’s ‘The Hex’ Is a Gorgeous Parting Gift

Late studio musician recorded this lovely album just weeks before dying of alcoholism-related illness this summer

Rachel Demy

Richard Swift — a prolific sideman and producer who spooned instant-vintage stardust onto records and live performances by the Black Keys, the Shins and more — completed this gorgeous solo LP just weeks before his alcoholism-related death in July. “I don’t know if I can make it through/Every color now is black and blue,” Swift sings on the sweet, lonesome “Dirty Jim,” which has lyrics that sum up the album’s deep tones of loneliness and regret. Offsetting some of that weight are Swift’s generous soul and rock arrangements, which he tracked almost entirely on his own, with a deft studio touch that recalls Curtis Mayfield, Todd Rundgren and Brian Wilson. Listening to <em>The Hex</em> is a fitting way to honor his troubled spirit and golden ear.

In This Article: Black Keys, The Shins

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