In An Ideal World
The Rising Of The Lights
Song In The Key Of Concrete
Me Fish Bring
Homesweet Homestead Hideaway
The Rising of the Lights is William D. Drake¹s fourth album and follow up to the critically acclaimed simultaneous album releases of 2007, Briny Hooves and Yew¹s Paw.
The album¹s title is taken from a mysterious cause of death which plagued London during the 18th and 19th centuries. Drake discovered the malady in a Victorian medical journal somewhere amongst Venice¹s labyrinth of canals while on an Italian tour. “I liked the sound of the words: it stuck with me”. This said, The Rising of the Lights is a work at the very peak of
By turns energetic and passionate, excitable and sombre, and baring a
flagrant disregard for the division of modern and ancient, this music is
inimitably Drake¹s. In complement to the span of moods, a feast of gorgeous instrumentation is presented: hurdy-gurdy, clarinet, harmonium, ‘television organ’, melodica, phillicorder, mellotron, electric guitar, saxophone and mini-moog.
There is also a palpable sense of nostalgia for Drake¹s time in Cardiacs.
This is inspired in part, he acknowledges, by front-man Tim Smith’s serious illness. Indeed, The Rising of the Lights opens with two songs, Super Altar and Ant Trees, which were originally intended for Smith, Jones and Drake’s side-project, Sea Nymphs. Though a delight in oddness and asymmetry is much in evidence, The Mastodon’s stomping persistence or the P-funky strut of Song in the Key of Concrete, the album is rich with moments of heart-stopping beauty. In An Ideal World’s sense of devotion, the lissom Laburnum and the enigmatic Me Fish Bring demonstrate Drake’s signature blend of emotion and playful surrealism.
Whether it be the ancient grind of James Larcombe’s hurdy-gurdy,
rediscovered gems from another project, or the curious fixation on disease, a spice of old times pervades the new compositions. But this record could not come from a different artist, nor be created at a different time. To quote Ornamental Hermit, titled from the long-forgotten eccentric English practice of wealthy families keeping an elderly, grey-bearded hermit within their grounds, The Rising of the Lights is “overflowing with joy and with pain”.