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David Sylvian - Brilliant Trees  CD (album) cover

BRILLIANT TREES

David Sylvian

 

Crossover Prog

3.74 | 84 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Brilliant Trees is the debut studio album from former Japan frontman David Sylvian. I was introduced to David Sylvians solo work through his fourth studio album Secrets of The Beehive (1987). I read a review of that album here on PA and found that it was a deeply emotional album that touched me greatly. After that experience Ive been going back to listen to David Sylvians work with Japan. After Ive finished reviewing all Japan studio albums and found some of them interesting Ive now ventured into David Sylvian solo territory.

The music on Brilliant Tree is pretty much in Japan territory. David Sylvian has a very distinct singing style and its hard not to compare the music on Brilliant Trees with his contributions to Japans music. Brilliant Trees could have been a Japan album IMO. Actually the melancholic mood reminds me a bit of my favorite Japan album Gentlemen Take Polaroids.

The album starts with the most up-tempo track on the album Pulling Punches. Its not my favorite here but its a good and actually funky song. The Ink in the Well is next and with its melancholic mood it generally sets the mode for the rest of the album. Nostalgia sounds just like its title suggests. Longing and melancholic. Red Guitar incorporates some jazzy notes but the melancholic mood is still in focus. Weathered Wall is my least favorite track here while Backwaters is the most experimental track. Im not too happy about Backwaters either though. My version of the album ends with the great and emotional title track. This is what David Sylvian does best IMO. Singing melancholic emotional songs.

There are lots of underlying synth on the album and instead of creating the usual cold eighties sound this album is generally very warm and pleasant. There are also lots of percussion parts and Im actually very happy about the instrumentation on the album. David Sylvian is helped out by several guests on Brilliant Trees including a couple of his old Japan collegues. Richard Barbieri ( Porcupine Tree) guests on synth and Steve Jansen guests on drums. Mick Karn ( bass) is the only one missing from the lineup on the last Japan album Tin Drum ( 1981). Note the great brass playing which gives the music a certain urban feel.

The production is very professional. I especially enjoy the warm sound on Davids voice.

Brilliant Trees is a very good album, but it has some weak moments too and thus it isnt excellent IMO. Had all songs been as great as Nostalgia or the title track this would have been a sure 4 star rating but as there are a few weak spots Ill rate Brilliant Trees 3 stars. Not every prog head will enjoy the music on Brilliant Trees but if you have a weakness ( like I do) for eighties new wave/ mellow jazzy and ambient melancholic music Brilliant Trees is a treat.

UMUR | 3/5 |

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