Ben Dalby haunted by the spirit of Nick Drake on poetic new CD

Reviewed by Jessica Shearer

Ben Dalby/Symphony of Silence

Englishman Ben Dalby must get numerous comparisons to the late British folk icon Nick Drake; he should be prepared for another. Like Drake, Dalby’s unplugged soft rock has the intimacy of a bedroom kiss; it is warm and quiet, songs sung from what seems to be a gentle soul. This is cozy coffeehouse folk with a distinctly English sensibility. Dalby’s British accent adds flavor and color to the no-frills arrangements; you spend as much time listening to his phrasing as well as to his lyrics, which can be charming, witty, and utterly poetic as these lines from “Pictures on a Monday” will show: “The wind blew low, like the sigh of a widow/Cheeks were wet, like dew on a wooden lid.”

It all may seem too precious to some, but I found myself moved by these tunes. The slow yet uplifting “Don’t Give In” probably reminded me of Drake the most, mainly the fragile, breathy qualities in Dalby’s singing. Not everything is naked and soothing. “Never Broke My Heart” rides on a shuffling locomotive beat a la classic country and “No Need to Fear the Shadows” has ethereal riffs that the Postal Service would’ve winked at.

Published in: on December 17, 2007 at 3:53 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Greetings –

    I wanted to send you a copy of my new CD for consideration of a review. Can you please tell me where to send it.
    Thanks, Otis Read

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