By Gina Arnold
May 24, 1991 at 04:00 AM EDT

Rumor & Sigh

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Listening to an entire album of pop songs by former Fairport Convention guitarist Richard Thompson is a lot like dining with Einstein — a profound but unsettling experience. For instance, on Rumor & Sigh such songs as the witty and wry ”Read About Love,” ”Backlash Love Affair,” and ”Feel So Good,” though unbelievably catchy, all have a strong undercurrent of irony, while a few others — ”Mother Knows Best” and the cabaret number ”Psycho Street” — are silly on the surface and downright bitter underneath. On the lovely ”1952 Vincent Black Lightning,” Thompson acknowledges his roots as one of Britain’s premier folk-rock revivalists with a shimmering play of acoustic folk guitar, while on ”God Loves a Drunk” and ”Why Must I Plead” he solidifies his reputation as a songwriter who is unafraid to tackle sheer sadness as his subject matter. In short, Rumor & Sigh is musically diverse, emotionally moving, lyrically intelligent, and intimidatingly grown-up — four things that are each rare enough in rock & roll as to be positively disturbing when found in a single package. A

Rumor & Sigh

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