Gravenhurst : The Ghost In Daylight
Nick Talbot is a quiet achiever on the Warp label. He once stood out as a folky contrast to the edgy electronia the label were renowned for, but Warp has since widened the net and varied their output more extensively. Talbot still creates good albums, though he’s not as prolific as he once was (this is his first work since 2007), and there’s little that comes as a surprise on his latest album. The most notable change is a shift in tone away from the fiery Western Lands toward a wistful, shadowy folk sound that recalls his earliest albums.
The Ghost In Daylight adopts a weary melancholia in its exploration of decay and disposition. There are some dark lyrics hidden beneath the soft exterior, though Talbot’s mild-mannered vocal doesn’t carry enough weight to make the sinister undertones cast too much of a dark shadow. The way the end of The Prize builds to an orchestral climax is a great example of what can be achieved when Talbot doesn’t rest on underplaying his compositions and finally submits to his emotive drives.
A single electronica track, the near-instrumental Islands, is an atmospheric centerpiece and it’s a shame that the electronic elements don’t seep into his acoustic folk more often. After Islands, the remaining finger-picking ballads are subtle almost to their detriment. The strongest material is clearly nestled in the album’s first half hour, but there’s enough of substance on here to gloomily ruminate about on a cold autumn afternoon.
BY CHRIS GIRDLER
Best Track: The Prize
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In A Word: Grave