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Teddy Thompson - Heartbreaker Please (Thirty Tigers)

27 May 2020

It can’t be easy being the son of someone as universally adored as Richard Thompson and Linda Thompson. But singer/songwriter/guitarist Teddy Thompson has persevered for two decades, with five albums and numerous collaborations and production jobs along the way, to create his own aesthetic direction that doesn’t sound much like either of his parents, and is now making the best music of his life. In part inspired by the dissolution of a romantic relationship, Heartbreaker Please finds the British native/American resident presenting a set of songs equally inspired by real life and artistic co-option of same. Drawing on decades-old sounds from the likes of Motown, the Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly, Thompson keeps the presentation simple: guitar, keys, rhythm section, tastefully deployed horns, and his own expressive tenor right up front. The latter makes its deepest impact on ballads like “No Idea” and “Brand New,” which give his pipes ample room to wring emotion out of his straightforward lyrics without sinking into melodrama. But the most satisfying tracks tend to be the most explicitly poppy, from the spry opener “Why Wait” to the fifties-leaning It’s Not Easy” and “Record Player” to the lightly anthemic title track. Both as a writer and a singer, Thompson makes the most of instantly appealing melodies, and when in combination with the emotion behind the record’s thematic heft, the result is a classic breakup album.