Richard Dawson, the black-humoured bard of Newcastle, returns to release his sixth solo album 2020, his first since the critically acclaimed, Peasant. 2020 is an utterly contemporary state-of-the-nation study, that uncovers a tumultuous and bleak time. Here is an island country in a state of flux; a society on the edge of mental meltdown. On 2020, Dawson introduces us to grand themes through small lives. His are portraits of human beings struggling with recognisable (and dare we say it, relatable) concerns, conflicts and desires, each reminding us that tragedy and gallows humour are not mutually exclusive, and that the magical can sit next to the mundane. Lyrically it is by far Dawson’s hardest-hitting and unflinchingly honest album to date. It is his poetic masterwork. Within, we find disgruntled civil servants dreaming of better days, anxiety-addled joggers listlessly searching Zoopla for houses they cannot afford in their spare time, amateur footballers who think they’re Lionel Messi and beleaguered pub landlords battling rising floodwaters.