- Personnel: Nick Drake (vocals, guitar); Richard Thompson (guitar); John Cale (viola, piano, celesta, harpsichord, organ); Lyn Dobson (flute); Ray Warleigh (alto saxophone); Paul Harris , Chris McGregor (piano); Dave Pegg (bass instrument); Dave Mattacks, Mike Kowalski (drums); Doris Troy, Pat Arnold (background vocals).
- After crafting a debut album full of beauteous, somber chamber-folk, Nick Drake pulled something of an about-face with the follow-up, BRYTER LAYTER. With a bright, sparkling production and orchestrations that occasionally border on Easy Listening, the framework is light and airy where FIVE LEAVES LEFT was dark and foreboding. The key, however, is that Drake's artfully expressed inner turmoil peeks through at every turn in the lyrics and in his understated-but-heartfelt vocal delivery.
- "At the Chime of a City Clock" finds Drake facing existential despair at every turn, despite an almost-lugubrious string arrangement. Perhaps the crucial moment of BRYTER LAYTER occurs on "Poor Boy," where female backing vocalists literally mock the singer's anguished laments. Clearly, for as much as Drake's heart and soul were bared in every note of his music, he was self-aware enough to know that his disillusioned-romantic view of the world was one that put him on the fringes of society. Of course, some 25 years later, his early-1970s work would find a much wider audience, even though the initial era of the sensitive singer/songwriter had long since passed.
Entertainment Weekly (5/12/00, p.24) - "The exquisiteness of the first album is expanded upon in 'Hazey Jane I', 'Fly' and a genuinely optimistic love song, 'Northern Sky'..." - Rating: B+
Q (1/01, p.95) - Included in Q's "5 Best Re-Issues of 2000".
Q (6/00, p.76) - Ranked #23 in Q's "100 Greatest British Albums" - "...Few songwriters have given such perfect voice to the England of dreaming spires, tea cups and quiet desperation..."
Alternative Press (3/01, p.88) - "...With a voice paradoxically feather-light and grave, [one] of the most beautiful and melancholy albums ever recorded..."
Mojo (Publisher) (7/00, p.99) - "...Certainly the most polished of his catalog....[It[ begins to suggest a whole other tableau of unexplored possibilities....God, how damn confident it all sounds. He knew how good he was..."
NME (Magazine) (9/18/93, p.19) - Ranked #14 in NME's list of The Greatest Albums Of The '70s.