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David Sylvian - Brilliant Trees CD (album) cover

BRILLIANT TREES

David Sylvian

 

Crossover Prog

3.74 | 90 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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 Sylvian´s 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 I´ve been going back to listen to David Sylvian´s work with Japan. After I´ve finished reviewing all Japan studio albums and found some of them interesting I´ve 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 it´s hard not to compare the music on Brilliant Trees with his contributions to Japan´s 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. It´s not my favorite here but it´s a good and actually funky song. The Ink in the Well is next and with it´s melancholic mood it generally sets the mode for the rest of the album. Nostalgia sounds just like it´s 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. I´m 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 I´m 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 David´s voice.

Brilliant Trees is a very good album, but it has some weak moments too and thus it isn´t 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 I´ll 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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