Album no. 191/1001
Our mopey English friend Nick Drake returns with his second album – filled with a little more instrumentation and a little more melancholy.
Tapping his musician friends on the shoulder, he had input from Fairport Convention folk, our Welsh mate John Cale(!) and even a couple of Beach Boys.
A couple of the songs from this album have been included on film soundtracks – particularly ‘One Of These Things First’ (in Garden State) and ‘Fly’ (in The Royal Tenenbaums).
Have you listened to this album before?
CL: No! But more Nick Drake is always welcome, especially given Five Leaves Left was such a pleasant surprise.
NK: I have not. Another album where I do not recognise a single track.
CL: I am happy to report that there are STACKS of standout tracks here. I can’t name a bad one – a happy time for me! I think my standout has to be ‘Northern Sky’, but closely followed by ‘One Of These Things First’. So lovely. I don’t think this album is quite as gloomy as Five Leaves Left, but I still wouldn’t call it a happy album.
NK: As much as I hate to agree with you, I think those two songs are pretty good. I quite like ‘Fly’ and ‘Hazey Jane II’ as well! The only track I didn’t enjoy was ‘Poor Boy’, something about the drums and piano really put me off. The vibe of this is quite odd, it sounds like it should be really gloomy but isn’t. I quite liked this.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
CL: This is absolutely a morning album, driving away from a sunrise, perhaps on your way to make a life-changing decision.
NK: That is exactly where you would use one of these songs in a movie.
Why has this album been included on the list?
CL: This is really a wonderful exploration of old mate’s vision – the instrumental arrangements are great. I do think a couple of tracks maybe suffered from too many additional instruments, but in terms of doing something unique? I think he nails it. Nobody else sounds like this at this point in time.
NK: Yeah, the instrumentation is interesting. It sounds really full, even though there is often just him singing, him on acoustic, drums, bass and piano. It seems pretty simple, but you’re right, nobody has really had this sound. I am not sure the songs themselves are as good as the production and the general vibe, but I still enjoyed it. Also you can pick up quite a bit of stuff that came after him.
Will you be listening again?
CL: I definitely will be. I’m so glad all of his albums made this list – it’s meant I haven’t had to go find them for myself. PLUS we’re only 14 weeks away from Pink Moon!
NK: It will go on the list of ‘pretty good’ that I will endeavour to listen to, probably once we’re finished with a new album every day.
Listen to Bryter Layter on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.