The Guardian – 2 February 2007
Briny Hooves, 3/5
As the Great Tao of Style spins round, it is possible for culture to be so retro that it sounds fresh – and vice versa: witness the craft revival, ballroom dancing and the return of the seven-inch single. As backward-glancing composer-performers go, William D Drake is more Afghan coat than legwarmer. Briny Hooves is cheerfully eclectic, with a nod to “big pop” – the High Llamas, the Associates, late Beatles – and a raw edge to the vocals.
He has even been compared to Brian Wilson, perhaps for his quirky, acoustic orchestrations, but there is something defiantly British in Drake’s attitude. His sense of scale and structure chime with his apprenticeship in the Cardiacs and his ongoing contributions to the North Sea Radio Orchestra. You can also hear Drake’s pastoral roots in Yew’s Paw (on Onomatopoeia), a simultaneously released collection of piano miniatures whose “light classical” veneer peels back to reveal a tough musical heart.
John L Walters