You wonder what Nick Drake would make of the throng of singer songwriters who have made a career out of, shall we say, his influence. I'm sure many of them don't even realise it. Perhaps Julius Way mainstay Matthew Adam doesn't realise it either but his music is steeped in the spirit of Drake. You get the feeling that Adam is a sensitive soul. Someone who is in touch with his feelings. Someone who longs to be cradled in the bosom of mother earth. An idealist with conviction. Having never met the guy, I can't say that any of this is true but his lyrics make me think I may be right.
The Slow Death Of Julius Way unfolds like a personal diary, where we are privy to little glimpses of a soul laid bare, thoughts unclouded by resentment and a longing for a different way of life. In its context, this is a remarkably beautiful piece of work. The album opens on what is for me the albums only weak point. I Will Live has a baroque sound that just pales when compared to the rest of the album. Jessie's Yurt is a far more palatable proposition with chiming guitars and celebratory vocals all underpinned by foot stomps and hand claps. Brilliantly different.
Things take an unexpected turn with Cradle, complete with feedback. If Arcade Fire were to make a folk record I'm pretty sure it would sound like this. Some of the albums most beguiling moment are initiated with the addition of the dulcet tones of Bex Baxter like on Friends, The Dawn and Slow Death. The interaction between Adam and Baxter is a thing of real beauty. There are however two tracks that really stand out. The simplicity of both Creed and Doya exemplify what makes this record for me. The production is uncluttered, naive even, but this means that the songs can't hide. What you get is an honest representation of what Adam wanted us to hear.
Even with all its imperfections and low tech approach, this is a joyous album that is all the more endearing for it. If you want music that is pure and heartfelt, then this album needs you as much as you need it.