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William D. Drake - Briny Hooves CD (album) cover


William D. Drake


Eclectic Prog

3.96 | 9 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Nothing has yet been written about this album, which I think is rather criminal. Even I myself tended to underrate it - I have heard it by far not as often as I believe it deserves now that I listen to it several times consciously for reviewing it; I'm not really sure why in the beginning it didn't really stick for me.

Anyway... William D. Drake is the former keyboarder of the Cardiacs, and Briny Hooves suggests that as long as he was in the band, he must have been quite a creative force there. Things are less guitar oriented than the Cardiacs, and mostly slower. Drake's music is slightly more civilised, his keyboard-oriented sound is more lush and less edgy. Drake can write quite catchy melodies, often influenced by British folk songs, many of which have this certain unexplainable magic that music can do, but that always works for some specific people and leaves others unimpressed. The prime example for this is Sweet Peace, a stunningly beautiful piano-dominated ballad. Another one, "The Seashell Song" feels very homely and comforting, but is playful at the same time.

Briny Hooves is however densely enough packed with crazy ideas to be worthy of an ex-Cardiac. There are twisted melodies such as in "Dark Ecstasies", powerful walls of sound as in "Seahorse" and "Serendipity Doodah" (which also has nice twists), and "Requiem for a Snail" is heavy and dramatic. Drake sings most of the songs. His voice can't be called "beautiful" and he is neither a natural nor probably a well trained singer, but he uses his voice in a very confident manner, takes some risks and fits eventually well into the general weirdness of this music. He has some support from his band at times, so there are a few choral parts, and two songs are sung by North Sea Radio Orchestra's Sharron Fortnam with her nice folk voice (and actually a few ideas on Briny Hooves remind of the NSRO album from one year earlier to which Drake had contributed some choir singing).

Overall this album manages to be original, witty, complex and somewhat edgy, and on the other hand very melodic, often catchy and mostly rather calm and friendly at the same time, which is quite something to achieve on the same album. One may find the odd annoying moment here but it's easily 4 stars

Lewian | 4/5 |


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