After crafting a debut album full of beauteous, somber chamber-folk, Nick Drake proved his low-key singing, gentle folk, and supreme mood-setting were no fluke on Bryter Layter. With a bright, sparkling production and mellow orchestrations, the framework is light and airy, a touchstone for what evolved into the singer-songwriter movement.
Drake's artfully expressed turmoil occasionally peeks through in the lyrics and understated-but-heartfelt vocal deliveries. "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 seemingly mock the singer's anguished laments. Yet the record also claims a subtle playfulness that again suggests Drake not the miserable soul that he's often portrayed in the media. This LP is a stunning reflection at solitary thought and existence, and the loss that accompanies such states.
Mastered from the original analog master tapes at Abbey Road Studios by original producer/engineer John Wood, this sublime reissue is the definitive pressing. No music lover should be without it.
"Even in his best moods, though, Drake seems to be reaching out from a position of isolation to a like soul, as in "Hazey Jane I." More characteristic is the intensely considered solitude of "Poor Boy," "One of These Things First" and "Fly," which features John Cale's moaning viola...It's a measure of his instinct for maintaining a sense of mystery that Bryter Layter's reflections are as ephemeral as a man's breath on a mirror."
- Rolling Stone