After the failure of his first two gorgeous and ornately arranged albums, Nick Drake went the opposite route with his third. Recorded by Drake, facing the wall in a deserted studio late at night, Pink Moon showcases him at his rawest. Without all the strings in the arrangements, it’s a pleasure to be able to hear Drake’s guitar at the forefront; the only overdub is some piano on the title track. While Drake never raises his voice, there’s an unsettling intensity in the insistent strum of ‘Things Behind The Sun’ and the fragile beauty of the title track.
It’s the first half of Pink Moon that’s really captivating; the title track, which boosted Drake’s profile immeasurably after being featured in a car commercial, has a beautifully delicate melody that’s complemented by the simple piano line. ‘Road’ and ‘Place To Be’ are similarly pretty, while ‘Which Will’ is gently insistent. The second half doesn’t quite reach the same heights; the generic lyrics of ‘Know’ damage Drake’s mystique a little.
Sadly, Drake’s recording career ended at Pink Moon, after he overdosed on sleeping pills two years later, unappreciated at the time but now a revered figure.