ORGAN THING OF THE DAY: A First listen to the new William D Drake album Revere Beach
Addressed to swallows and woodpigeons, precious moments, Whisper of the earth, precious moments will collide, the new William D Drake album is here, it arrived this morning with the first sun of what we hope will be another glorious summer – the leaves we hope for will indeed be in laughter.. Of course it is eccentrically English, and of course this opening song, Distant Buzzing, is slightly hat-stand, of course it is, delightfully so. Precious moments, and of course there’s a donkey, and of course it demands a cup of tea to go with this first sunny morning listen – toast, tea, sunshine, and the new William D Drake album. What fervour indeed. In Converse, follows the jaunty trot of the opening Distant Buzzing, In Converse is delicately beautiful, almost whispered, piano keys stroked, female vocals leading is to duet (sorry, we have no names, no details of who is playing or singing) a beautiful dream-state of a song that leads us in to the even more beautiful Lifeblood and a jaunty introduction in that could only be William D Drake. We don’t expect anything other than Bill on top form, this really is beautiful though, it really is uplifting, this is indeed lifeblood, this is sun through trees, clear streams, this is bring forth what’s within you, it is indeed your fresh lifeblood.
“For his fifth solo excursion, former Cardiacs keysmith William D Drake takes us on a serpentine path through the inner regions of Revere Reach, a part-imagined landscape composed of memory and fantasy. At once heart-felt, hearty and absurd, its heady reveries blend ancient-seeming modal folk melody with an obliquely slanted Rock thrust”.
Not really hearing the “rock thrust”
Be Here Steryear is all sea nymph siren melancholy, all middle English folk keys, a secret opening in a summer wood discovered for the first time, an other world. A tingling pool of reflected sunlight, a song and a piece of music that just glows, and yes I know this is gushing, but this is music and music made with such good heart is for gushing over, this isn’t about ‘product’ and ‘marketing plans’ and “can you tie in a review with our release schedule”. This is about the emotion of something made with heart, this is about a first reaction to something a little more special than we had a right to expect it to be, this is why, we still do this thing we foolishly do, this is wonderful.
A Husk is a Bill song, a song with a delightful opening, one of those he sings from the heart, a song no one else could sing so well, as beautiful as anything that has already gone. Blind Boy is probably the first thing we can truly say we didn’t expect, a slightly different side of William D Drake’s songsmithery, a fine fine song. Hey look, I’m an admirer of Mr. Drake, have been for a many a year, since early Cardiacs days days that almost seem like another world now – there’s been many adventures, glorious Sea nymph days at Maida Vale, beautiful goings off and things propped up on tables at Fetcham Riverside, glorious ponds at the old Marquee, days in strange fields, lifetimes of musical adventures. We have a long history with Bill and his Cardiacs family, they are not just another band of people, and it isn’t exactly going to be big news that those frothing folk at Organ think the new William D Drake album is wonderful. He really has done it again though, he really has done it again. Revere Beach certainly is as good as last time, and Heart of Oak is rousing – more a flagon of communal ale than a cup of tea, steady, we’ll fight and we’ll gush again, it fair brings a tear to the eye, such faces and places of glorious renown.
Black-headed gulls, swallows, three swans a paddling close, London bridge is falling down, we’ll let you discover the delights of the Catford Clown and the tales of the king of Lewisham yourselves, that’s all you need to know (from us), and London town is the place to be, it may not be beside the sea. By the time we get to Liferaft and the tossed overboard blue hue of Castaway, we really are expecting the unexpected, Bill Drake does art deco melancholy and all smoked-filled passenger-liner jazz?
The twelfth piece and title track, Revere Beach, is delicately epic, glowingly so. Addressed to swallows and woodpigeons, all slow moving keys and gentle warmth, choral voices and fractured hums, orchestral flow and three swans approaching tenderly, Orlando closes things with dreams of pie and turquoise sky, take aim and claim, a glorious end, as unexpected as expected, as strange as ever, beautifully produced, strangely good and for all the right reasons, and ending on the perfect note as well. William D Drake has done it again. (SW)
Revere Reach is the new William D Drake album. It will be released on vinyl, cd and download in May on Onomatopoeia Records. This is not a ‘proper’ review, we don’t so that anymore, did we ever?), this is a reaction to a first (second and third) listen, no doubt the “proper” reviews will be along in a bit, all you really need to know for here is William D Drake has made another glorious unique album, As fine as anything he and his friends have ever done.
Some early sketches of songs from the album..
William D Drake will be at The Alphabet Business Convention. Salisbury Arts Centre on Saturday 2nd May 2015
William D.Drake and his full band ‘of so called friends’ will perform at The Alphabet Business Convention: a musical extravaganza that celebrates the legendary cult musician, composer and producer Tim Smith leader of the band, Cardiacs. All proceeds will go towards the ongoing care of Tim, who suffered a heart attack and two strokes in 2008.
The convention is a gathering of affectionate friends and ex-Cardiacs band members performing in their own ensembles and collaborations. Mr Drake will be introducing new songs from the glorious forthcoming album ‘Revere Reach’. Read more about the show on the venue website here. Tickets £20/£15 buy them here Saturday 2nd May 2015. Doors 5pm Salisbury Arts Centre, Bedwin Street, Salisbury. Wilts, SP1 3UT. www.salisburyartscentre.co.uk