Indie Britannia Undergrowth

Sid Smith says

William D Drake
The Rising Of The Lights
Onomatopoeia Records

Wacky as a hell but consistently brilliant with it, Drake’s fourth solo album is another dazzling, kaleidoscopic collection of songs in the key of E for eccentric. Recalling some of the manic energies generated during his period as a member of Cardiacs, it’s a strange parallel world where nothing is quite what it seems.

Repeated inspection of the fascinating layers of detail lovingly crafted into the record confirms a playful but intensely keen intelligence whose wry, melodic chamber pop offers a continual stream of surprising and intriguing turns on all 12 tracks.

Content-rich arrangements such as The Mastodon, overflowing with rippling themes, tumbling drums and prodding organ set inside a stirring march evoke Egg’s Germ Patrol or the strident insistency of John Greaves and Peter Blegvad’s Kew Rhone.

Populated with far-fetched tales, wild associative leaps and quick-fire word-play, there’s a guiding dream-like logic whose skewed wit is just as capable of confounding as it is of astounding.

Amidst quaintly tipsy intermissions and Oliver Postgate-on-steroids style instrumentals like Ziegler, piquant ballads such as the sublimely enigmatic, Me Fish Bring, suggest that within Drake’s exquisitely eclectic songbook there’s a yearning romanticism that is genuinely moving.

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