Thursday, April 20, 2006

From the vault: Bryter Layter?

I don't know if Nick Drake was referencing some obscure piece of Welsh history, or if he just couldn't spell. But the parallels between him and his modern day equivalent (Jeff Buckley) are striking. Both recorded astonishingly mature debut records (Drake's Five Leaves Left) and both utilised a lush production method to create music of striking beauty and emotional forthrightness. Thankfully, Drake survived long enough to record 3 records, and it is his second, Bryter Later, that tends to slip under the radar.
Opening with a brief, finger picked guitar over sweeping strings (beautifully arranged by maestro Robert Kirby) introduction, the album kicks in with 'Hazy Jane II' (why this precedes 'Hazy Jane I', no one will ever know), which is in equal measures a bouncy early 70's pop gem and wistful tale of unrequited love.
Drakes tenor voice manages to hold sway over the dense produciton across the record, as he muses on life's unpredictability ('One of These Things First'), then produces a love song, which in lesser hands would have stunk of 5 day old gouda, but here is the achingly gorgeous 'Northern Sky'.
A true folk/rock/pop classic, and a perfect introduction to a truly gifted musician, whose legacy, while short, will live on for generations.


Post a Comment

<< Home