Hannibal HNCD 4436
On his last album, Nick Drake strips away all of the excess instrumentation of his first two albums, keeping only the bare essentials. The result is a stark, brilliant album of despair, loneliness, and alienation that is startling in its emotional power. * * * *
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine , The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
Drake reportedly recorded the songs on Pink Moon in two days, just with his voice and a guitar, then without a word dropped the tape off at the Island Records reception desk and disappeared. After several days someone opened the package and realized they had the new Nick Drake album. After a few listens, this scenario makes perfect sense; he said all he needed to with one voice, six strings and 11 songs. * * * * 1/2
- Brian Escamilla, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.
- Zagat Survey Music Guide - 1,000 Top Albums of All Time, 2003.
Drake recorded his last album in a couple of nights, mailed the tapes to Island Records and checked himself into a psychiatric ward. If the music were as dark as the lyrics, it might be unlistenable. But Drake's soothing vocals and unadorned acoustic picking make this album unfold with supernatural tenderness.
- Rolling Stone, 12/11/03.
After his glorious second album Bryter Later attracted a paucity of reviews, Nick Drake retreated to his sparsely furnished home in London. Pink Moon was to be devoid of the orchestral flourishes that gave Bryte Later and debut Five Leaves Left their emotive sway.
R.E.M.'s Peter Buck once asked producer John Wood how he had achieved the intimacy of the sound on Pink Moon. Wood explained that Drake simply sat down in front of a microphone at Sound Techniques studios and played; any atmosphere created came from the unadorned power of Drake's guitar and haunting vocals, filled with tremulous emotion.
The baroque elements of Drake's melodies, intricate guitar plucking, and open tunings create descending chimes on "Parasite" and a plethora of colorful chords on "Pink Moon" (the only song on the album to feature an overdub). Elsewhere, the pastoral elements of "Place To Be" recall the nature imagery common in Drake's work, while "Ride" features breathtakingly swift chord changes. Drake's exceptional guitar-playing talents were still intact, but the stark songs they decorated were bleak, unsettling. An apathetic Drake apparently walked into the record company offices and simply dropped off the master tapes for this final album with one of the secretaries.
"From The Morning" ends things on a rare note of optimism. All the sadder, then, that one of its lines -- "and now we rise, and we are everywhere" -- was to be inscribed on the gravestone of this enormously talented musician, who died prematurely in 1974 at the age of 26.
- Ali MacQueen, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, 2005.
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