Reviews

Rustin Man
Drift Code

(Domino)

7/10

Without making the link sonically blatant, on their 1988 masterpiece ‘Spirit of Eden’, Talk Talk were tapping into a continuum of English visionary music that had its eyes on the natural world and its roots in English folk culture. Something implicit in that record, then, is made explicit on ‘Drift Code’ by former Talk Talk bassist Paul Webb – now as Rustin Man. Continuing the glacial work-rate that marked the final (glorious) years of that band, this is Webb’s first record since 2002. It’s also a partial reunion of two parts of the triumvirate that was Talk Talk, with the appearance of Lee Harris on drums.

Against a jazz-inflected, autumnal palette of swelling organ and sparse, glistening guitar, Webb’s voice has matured strikingly into something with all the oaky plainness of Shirley Collins or Robert Wyatt. Like Wyatt, Webb finds the sweet spot between the playful and the mournful, and is animated by philosophical questions and nature.

Most successfully, this produces standout tracks like ‘The World’s In Town’, a reflection on alienation (the protagonist “drifting from day to day”) by an increasingly ominous planet that “keeps on turning like it’s never turned before”. Scenes of nature and the pastoral re-emerge across the record; “is that a mocking bird inside your crying eyes of stone?” asks Webb on single ‘Vanishing Heart’. He’s spoken of the “unfixed or uprooted quality” of this long-in-gestation record – this is one of its strengths, but also brings occasional misfires like the off-kilter barroom piano of ‘Light the Light’ and the confused Americana of ‘Judgement Train’.

Support Loud And Quiet from £3 per month and we'll post you our next 9 magazines

As all of us are constantly reminded, it’s getting harder for independent publishers to stay in business, which applies to Loud And Quiet more now than ever, 14 years after we first started printing a magazine that we’ve always given away for free.

Having thought about the best way to support the costs of what we do (the printing and server fees, the podcast and video production costs etc.) we’d like to ask our readers who really enjoy what we do to subscribe to our next 9 issues over the next 12 months. The cheapest we can afford to do this for is a recurring payment of £3 per month for UK subscribers. If you really start to hate it you can cancel at any time. The same goes for European subscriptions (£6 per month) and the rest of the world (£8 per month).

It’s not just a donation – you’ll receive a physical copy of our magazine through your door, and some extra perks detailed on our subscribe page. Digital subscriptions are available worldwide for £15 per year. We hope you consider this a good deal and the best way to keep Loud And Quiet in your life without its content, independence or existence suffering.