The new album from Rustin Man, Drift Code out as of Friday on Domino, is a stunning record. And I guess that shouldn't be too surprising given that this is Paul Webb from Talk Talk. Paul last recorded an album with Beth Gibbons of Portishead and so his return here signals the arrival of something special.
And while the first few songs on Drift Code meld a slightly folk-rock approach to the kind of expansive post-rock found on the Spirit Of Eden LP from Talk Talk, the absolutely stunning "Brings Me Joy" offers up something that's nearly a classical composition, Paul Webb's near-whispered vocals paralleled by an angelic backing vocalist. The cut is, clearly, the highlight of this album, and it's very nearly equaled by the elegiac "The World's In Town", a number that echoes both The Blue Nile and Nilsson. Elsewhere, "Martian Garden" nods in the direction of Seventies mainstays Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac, a mid-tempo ramble, while album closer "All Summer" sees Webb pursue a climbing melodic figure that seems like the sort of thing his old band would have used, even as the piano-hook reminded me of stuff from Virginia Astley albums.
A uniquely English record, with flashes that sound like Traffic, for example, Drift Code is beautiful and haunting in spots, with Paul Webb as Rustin Man adding folkier textures to the sort of material that quietly lingers in a listener's ears and heart. Fans of Talk Talk, at least the mid-period releases, should love this as much as I did.
Drift Code is out now via Domino.
[Photo: Lawrence Watson]