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William D. Drake

Eclectic Prog

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William D. Drake The Rising of the Lights album cover
3.55 | 22 ratings | 4 reviews | 14% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Super Altar (2:54)
2. Ant Trees (1:56)
3. In An Ideal World (3:52)
4. The Mastodon (3:50)
5. Ornamental Hermit (4:55)
6. Wholly Holey (2:41)
7. The Rising Of The Lights (2:04)
8. Song In The Key Of Concrete (1:29)
9. Me Fish Bring (6:38)
10. Ziegler (4:13)
11. Laburnum (1:37)
12. Homesweet Homestead Hideaway (9:34)

Total Time 45:38

Line-up / Musicians

- William D. Drake / piano, television organ, mellotron, harmonium, percussion, lead vocals
- Dug Parker / vocals
- Nicola Baigent / clarinet, bass clarinet
- Gaz Williams / bass guitar
- Sion Organ / drums
- James Larcombe / hurdy gurdy, harmonium, television organ, vocals

Guest musicians:

- Bernie Holden / clarinet (track 9)
- Richard Larcombe / acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals (tracks 1, 2, 4 and 6)
- Mark Cawthra / slide guitar (track 9)
- Frank Naughton / drums, additional engineering (track 7)
- Jason Jervis / synth textures (track 7)

Releases information

Released on Onomatopoeia Records (HUM07)

Thanks to The Hemulen for the addition
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WILLIAM D. DRAKE The Rising of the Lights ratings distribution

(22 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(64%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

WILLIAM D. DRAKE The Rising of the Lights reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Finally William D. Drake makes the PA grade! But: "eclectic prog"?! More like crossover prog, indie, or eccentric pop. Yes, there are some GENTLE GIANT familiarities ("The Mastodon," "Ziegler") and there are the odd instrument or two used to play off the ubiquitous piano, but mostly this is piano-based rock more in the vein of early BILLY JOEL or early ELTON JOHN. Some of it sounds like lyrically-clever songs from MONTY PYTHON or BENNY HILL ("Super Altar," "Wholly Holey," "Ziegler") and some sound continental 1930s KURT WEILL-ish ("The Rising of the Lights"). While I like the album overall, the steady piano beating and basic drum work leave me a bit cold. The gorgeous "In an Ideal World" and "Ornamental Hermit" are my favorites. Odd that the album's longest songs are bunched together at the end. Love the TONY BANKS-like sections in "Homesweet Homestead Hideaway."

5 star songs: "In an Ideal World," "The Mastodon," and "Ornamental Hermit."

4 star songs: "Ant Trees," "Laburnum," "Ziegler," "Me Fish Bring," and "Homesweet Homestead Hideaway." 3.5 stars rated down cuz I'm not finding it very proggie nor very progressive.

Review by The Hemulen
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars To those in the know, William D. Drake's songwriting credentials have never really been in doubt. His contributions to Cardiacs, The Sea Nymphs, North Sea Radio Orchestra and others, not to mention two exquisite solo albums of quirky, psychedelic prog-pop all attest to the fact that Mr Drake certainly knows how to write a decent tune. Sadly, none of these projects are anywhere close to being household names and Drake remains just another well-kept secret.

However, in yet another example of a theory I've espoused elsewhen on my blog, that could be about to change. For with his new album The Rising of the Lights, William D. Drake has taken a noticeable swerve towards the hallowed halls of Progressive Rock with a capital Prog, and (whether the mainstream music press likes it or not) that's a move which is likely to net you a whole load of new fans. More than ever before Drake's music invites comparisons to the likes of Robert Wyatt, Gryphon, Gentle Giant, (and naturally enough Cardiacs, The Sea Nymphs, NSRO etc.), whilst still remaining uniquely his own sound.

The Rising of the Lights retains everything about his previous album Briny Hooves which made it the accessible, sparkling, psychedelic wonder that it is whilst noticeably upping the ante when it comes to complicated twiddly bits, lengthy instrumental excursions and downright strangeness. The result is nothing short of a marvel; a patchwork quilt of rock, folk, chamber music and popular song, twisting and turning in a constant flurry of ideas and oozing breezy charm with every note. It's a bundle of opposites, forever veering madly between catchy, hummable ditties and knotty complexity, between playful irony and soul-wrenching sincerity.

Mr Drake seems admirably unaware of musical fads and fashions, which gives the album a sense of complete timelessness. Songs like Super Altar, Wholly Holey and Ornamental Hermit reek of the music hall and oak-panelled libraries without ever fully letting go of those subtle psychedelic undertones, and just when you're comfortably ensconced in a bit of woodwind-laden chamber music such as Song in the Key of Concrete in comes a fat, scuzzy synth to hurl you forward by several decades. It would be easy to accuse Drake of adding quirks for the sake of quirkiness, but the album's more hushed, reflective moments, such as the achingly gorgeous Me Fish Bring, are thankfully free from such flights of musical fancy, and get by just fine with their unadorned, wayward melodies. For all its eccentricity, this is an accessible album, and a surprisingly moving one too.

It is a testament to this album's consistently high standards that I've almost concluded this review without even mentioning three of my favourite tracks, namely the crackpot complexities of Gentle Giant-esque almost-instrumental The Mastodon, the time signature jumping surrealist pop gem Ant Trees, and the delightfully pompous album closer Homesweet Homestead Hideaway. Truthfully, I have yet to find a single dud or dull moment on this record, and that is a rare thing indeed. This is music to be cherished, to huddle up to on cold nights for warmth. I sincerely doubt I will encounter a finer album this year.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars William D. Drake is best known for his work with the CARDIACS and "The Rising Of Lights" is his latest solo album. He is the composer here of course and is heard mainly through his piano and vocal work. This album reminded me of THE BEATLES a lot, especially early on. The vocals, piano and drums dominate the sound. The tunes are fairly poppy but well done.

"Super Altar" is so catchy and I am impressed with the vocal performance. "Ant Trees" is another light and wimsical vocal track and the keyboards sound great. "In An Ideal World" is a change as we get a melancholic mood with reserved vocals and piano leading the way. I like it ! Three excellent songs to start off. "The Mastadon" is piano and drum led and the vocals come in at 2 1/2 minutes. "Ornamental Hermit" is more of the same but there is some depth here perhaps from the mellotron samples. "Wholley Holey" is a bright and cheerful tune with vocals and piano leading. Not a fan though.

"The Rising Of The Lights" has an almost jazzy vibe with bass, piano and a beat standing out. "Song In The Key Of Concrete" is another catchy tune. It's okay. "Me Fish Bring" is my favourite. Piano to open then reserved vocals join in. Female vocals too in this one. Sounds like aboe as well. Beautiful track. "Ziegler" has an almost circus-like melody to it. "Labumum" has male and female vocals with piano. Nice. "Homesweet Homestead Hideaway" ends it in with another catchy tune with male and female vocals. Nice instrumental conclusion to this one.

A good record but not really my style of music.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I think this album just has to grown on you. All in all it feels rather modest when first heard, but it will appear to be more intricate after a couple of spins. My first impression was "Cardiacs light" which here is a compliment rather than a complaint. Normally I'm no fan of offspring of th ... (read more)

Report this review (#1289765) | Posted by jeromach | Friday, October 10, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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