Rustin Man – Drift Code (Album Review)

Well-known as the bass player of Talk Talk for the most part of the English New Wave/Art Pop band’s career, Paul Webb quit the group in 1990 and, assuming the name Rustin Man, embarked on an even artier and more progressive musical direction than Talk Talk’s latter albums. His first noteworthy output was the ambient, folky Out of Season – his 2002 collaboration with Beth Gibbons of Portishead (“Roads”). Nothing was heard from Rustin Man since then, at least in a commercial perspective. That is why his upcoming album is something to look forward to, especially for music enthusiasts who are drawn to Experimental and Progressive music.

Scheduled for release on Friday, February 1, 2019, through Domino Records, Rustin Man’s first proper solo album, titled Drift Code, opens with its carrier single—the slow, hypnotic, and tribal chant of the Psychedelic Folk “Vanishing Heart.” It is followed by the ominous, cryptic, and rustic jazzy clank of “Judgment Train.”

The mood turns even slower and more somber with the acoustic and minimalist, church-like feel of “Brings Me Joy,” courtesy of the drone of the organ and the angelic female voice backing up Rustin Man’s own Gospel-inspired vocal delivery. Rustin Man then rouses the restive predisposition of the listener with the late-’60s to early ’70s vibes of the 5/4 rhythm of “Our Tomorrows”—sounding a fusion of The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm” and Simon Dupree & the Big Sound’s “Kites.”

After the short, horn-orchestrated, filmic interlude “Euphonium Dream,” Rustin Man then launches into another Psychedelic Folk track, the dreamy and Bowie-sque “The World’s in Town.” The time signature then stretches some more with the 7/4, Baroque Pop/Cirque de Soleil worthy “Light the Light.”

True to its title, the spacey and theatrical “Martian Garden” is a seeming tribute to Bowie’s early and final works; combine “Space Oddity” and “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime),” and you get the point. Finally, Rustin Man concludes his precious gem of an album with the reflective piano ballad “All Summer.”

Who said that music these days is soulless, artless, and heartless? Who else but the lazy and jaded, whose ears are no longer attuned to anything new. Or, those who are not into complex music to begin with. However, to music enthusiasts who are always hungry for challenging yet enticing works of music, Paul Webb’s latest opus as Rustin Man is definitely something to savor slowly and to drift with ponderingly. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives Drift Code 5 out of 5 stars.


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