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.
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