Review of Quite A Way Away [12k1070]

The Wire (UK)

Gareth Dickson has played live accompanying Vashti Bunyan, but when describing his music, it’s hard to avoid mentioning Nick Drake. Dickson admits that he was formerly obsessed with him and sings with a soft, rounded tone, his words glancing off the flow of the melody as Drake’s did, particularly on <i>Pink Moon</i>. Yet the Scottish guitarist and singer is an artist of real originality. He composes songs by editing together ideas from freewheeling guitar improvisations and it yields a distincitve vocabulary of unusual chord changes, diversions and codas. Dickson’s guitar playing is remarkably fluid, with enough reverb to give a sweet spangly luminosity to the higher notes and a drone-like undertow on the lower ones that reminds of Dean McPhee, but is often anchored by a tolling, Bert Jansch-style rhythmic approach.

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