Top positive review
31 people found this helpful
The (Continuing) Search for Nick Drake
on 6 March 2006
For fans and others who have read Patrick Humphries's biography (Nick Drake, Bloomsbury, 1977) Trevor Dann's book may come as something of a disappointment. Although an enjoyable read, to the casual reader it adds little to Humphries's work. What it does have that Humphries's lacks, is permission (I assume) to quote lines from Drake's songs, which makes interpretation of the songwriter's increasingly fragile mental state a much easier task. Dann's book also suggests that Drake's drug use was far greater than is suggested in the Humphries book and as a result the reason for Drake's rapid spiral into despair appears much more clear cut. In a sense, although this "another late-60s/early 70s artist destroyed by drugs" theory may well be the case, for me it detracted from my mental image of Drake the tortured, sensitive and possibly spoilt artist who, like others before him, was simply destined never to find a comfortable fit with society nor to be accepted by it during his lifetime.
The book contains a useful discography, extensive references and mini-reviews of all Drake's songs, which I enjoyed.
Darker than the Deeper Sea does move the story on in that it attempts to explain the rise in popularity of Drake's music in the 1990s and into this century; what it fails to capture, in my humble opinion, is the bleak, frightening intensity of Drake's implosion in the way that Humphries captured it. But that may simply be because I read the latter's book first.