Monday, July 7, 2014

David Sylvian - Brilliant Trees

Today (July 7th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Brilliant Trees, the solo debut from English singer-songwriter David Sylvian. It peaked at number 4 on the UK charts. In the late 70's to early 80's, he was the lead singer of the group Japan.

Side one opens with "Pulling Punches". As the third single, this funky groove peaked at number 56 in the UK. My first thought was this reminded me a lot of Talking Heads, with the rhythm and the bass line.

"The Ink in the Well", the second single, reached number 36 in the UK and number 28 in Ireland. This one has a cool jazz sound to it that sets a mysterious mood. The saxophone solo is solemn and mournful.

The gentle "Nostalgia" has a longing to it, evoking a bit of sadness with past remembrances.

"Red Guitar" was released as the lead single; it went to number 17 in the UK and number 13 in Ireland. Again, the percussion, guitars and piano give it a much laid back vibe.

Side two begins with "Weathered Wall"; an edited instrumental version was the B-side to the second single. The nearly six minute long album cut takes the listener on an ethereal journey.

A remixed version of "Backwaters" was the B-side to the third single. I like the way the rhythm meanders back and forth, built upon a simple repeating sequence. It is almost hypnotic.

The nearly nine-minute long title track closes the record. "Brilliant Trees" opens with an instrumental sequence that evokes both an exotic feel and a spiritual tone at the same time.

I had honestly never heard of Brilliant Trees prior to doing this review. And that was definitely my loss. Thanks to YouTube, I was able to listen to this wonderful record by David Sylvian. After just one listen, I am a fan of it. It is one I would definitely consider picking up if it ever crossed my path, but from what I hear it is only available here in the US via an import CD (and those can get pricey).

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