Composer and songwriter William D. Drake and his band are a feast of gorgeous instrumentation, masterful piano, grinding hurdy-gurdy, harmonium, woodwind, whirly tube, guitars, glockenspiel, bass, drums… topped with growly vocals and angelic singing. Weaving layers of textured melody with rock undertones, they journey through the surreal and psychedelic, telling curious tales with a sideways humour. The fifth album, Revere Reach, is a hearty, thumping folk-tinged romp.
The title for this album came about some years before recording, recalls William: ‘Revere Reach was a phrase my mother conjured up whilst trying to remember the name of the most peaceful creek tucked away in deepest Devon, where my family spent holidays for some years. I’d never heard those two words glued together like that before and we decided there and then that it’d be the title of the next album.’
Setting poems has long been a feature of William D. Drake’s work. He explains: ‘I enjoy putting words to music. I can spend hours in second-hand bookshops looking for old stuff, the ancienter the better. For this album, I did that with In Converse, Heart Of Oak and The Blind Boy.’
The words to Distant Buzzing, the jaunty opening track of the album, are not ancient but a poem written for William D. Drake by his friend, Jamie Kelsey-Fry. The song was written rather rapidly, as William remembers, ‘It was a hot day, and the coolest place in the house was the music room. I was feeling a bit feverish and was thumping the piano. I thought I’d send Jamie a text asking him to write me some words. He sat down and wrote Distant Buzzing in five minutes – sent it to me – then I sat up, thumped some more, and before I knew what had happened there was a song.’
Written and produced by Chaos Engineers, much has been made of the song’s video’s ‘Cardiacs memory sequences’, as William D. Drake was a defining member of the 80’s/early 90’s line-up of the cult band. William observes, ‘I didn’t know that one can film the past but Ashley Jones appears to have done so.’
To mark the release of Revere Reach this summer, a new music film of one of the most beautiful tracks on the album, Be Here Steryear, was released on Vimeo. The film was made by Andy Joule Films who previously produced a music film for Me Fish Bring from the Rising of the Lights album. William wrote the music for Be Here Steryear when he was the keyboardist in Cardiacs – and the band even rehearsed it.